Penn State Football’s Bryce Mostella Accuses Team Of Mental Health Neglect

Penn State defensive end Bryce Mostella is accusing the team of mistreatment and neglect regarding both his mental health and on-field performance, according to a handful of social media posts.

In a 16-tweet Twitter thread posted Saturday afternoon, Mostella alleged that negative staff interactions have greatly contributed to his struggles throughout his time with the Nittany Lions. Although he says the thread is “not a criticism of the university or any of its employees,” Mostella’s allegations paint a different picture.

Mostella openly admitted he’s struggled to put on weight as a defensive end, which would often negatively impact his mental health and contribute to diagnosed anxiety and depression. He alleges James Franklin and defensive line coach John Scott asked Mostella to speak about mental health only when asked directly.

After a few months had passed, Mostella claimed Franklin became dissatisfied with his progress.

“The narrative went from me being ‘a hard worker who’s going to figure it out’ to someone who ‘doesn’t care about football or the team,'” Mostella wrote online. “Every encounter, he insisted that I didn’t want to be at Penn State and didn’t want to play football, contrary to what I continuously told him.”

Mostella alleged that in August, Franklin said if he didn’t gain “an unspecified amount of weight” by December, he would be kicked off the team and lose his scholarship.

“That moment began the darkest phase of my life — a phase I am not out of,” Mostella wrote on Twitter.

Continuing down the Twitter thread, Mostella said he was hospitalized on November 3 for having suicidal thoughts. He’d lost about 30 pounds since August, claiming to have weighed the lowest he had since his freshman year of high school. Mostella was also diagnosed with an eating disorder, plus an unspecified heart condition he says was spurred by the eating disorder.

Mostella alleges that Franklin and Scott didn’t return calls or texts to his mother to talk about his mental health and role on the team. The redshirt sophomore also accused Scott of lying about changing his phone number.

Mostella also claimed he was removed from the defensive line’s group chat “unprompted.” Later, after leaving the hospital, he says non-coaching staff members gave him two options moving forward: transfer or medically retire. Mostella claims the team wouldn’t provide him clearance to resume workouts and instead suggested he should “just focus on getting better.”

“I missed so much school being in the hospital [that] I was told the only real option was to medically [withdraw] from the semester, which I did,” Mostella wrote online.

Due to administrative issues (and the university’s own red tape), Mostella says his enrollment for the spring semester was canceled. He said he’s currently waiting to hear back from the school, but returning to classes in the summer seems like the most likely outcome.

“The only goal of this was to make people aware of the situations and [the] types of people you may be dealing with if you or a loved one engage with particular systems,” Mostella wrote at the end of his thread.

Saturday afternoon, Penn State football did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations raised within Mostella’s Twitter thread. He’s still listed on the team’s active roster and within Penn State’s student directory.

Mostella, a redshirt sophomore, hasn’t yet appeared in a game for the Nittany Lions. He arrived on campus as a three-star recruit ranked the No. 8 prospect from Michigan.

Editor’s note: Some quotes from Mostella’s tweets were lightly edited for length and clarity.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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