Hidden Opponent Chapter Formed for Student Athlete Mental Health Advocacy

By Caitlin Burns | February 4, 2021

By Katherine Haines ’21

Arcadia’s student athletes battle opponents on the court and in the field, but the hidden opponent is one that should not be overlooked. 

The Hidden Opponent chapter at Arcadia was approved at the Dec. 1 meeting of the Student Government Organization (SGO) to be a new club. The Hidden Opponent is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the mental health of student-athletes and works to break the stigma behind mental health in athletics culture.

“We wanted to bring a chapter of this organization to Arcadia’s campus to try and increase the discussions of mental health,” said President Anna Intartaglia ’23, who plays guard on the women’s basketball team. “We also want to encourage students to utilize the resources Arcadia provides, when needed.”

The club founders hope that The Hidden Opponent can be used to open discussions of mental health to students even outside of athletics, since all students can be affected by it.

Arcadia’s Hidden Opponent Chapter is part of a larger organization founded by former Division 1 volleyball player Victoria Garrick, who gave a TedTalk in 2017 discussing her mental health struggles. Garrick started The Hidden Opponent to provide athletes a community of people who are supportive and uplifting when having difficult conversations and facing issues.

The organization started on campus through Intartaglia becoming a “campus captain,” an ambassador for the program at Arcadia. Now as an approved club, The Hidden Opponent can continue to promote the mental health resources Arcadia provides, but also be a student-organized space for mental health conversations.

The club will meet online for the spring semester and plans to host events and fundraisers such as a Zoom mental health panel with professionals, coaches, and athletes. The club hopes these open discussions provide Arcadia students resources to learn more about working on one’s own mental health. They’re also considering hosting a virtual 5k fundraisers, similar to what other chapters of The Hidden Opponent have done.

Their executive board also includes Biology major Abbey Finkill ’23, a guard on the women’s basketball team, and faculty adviser Danielle Duffy, head athletic trainer and director of sports performance. More information about their meeting times will be posted on the KnightLife app. 

Learn more about The Hidden Opponent from their Instgram account, thehiddenopponent.