Entertainment Sports

Panther’s Hayden Hurst to wear custom cleats to combat veteran suicide

Inspired by his own journey with mental health, Panthers TE Hayden Hurst has chosen to honor Face The Fight with his cleats this Sunday.
Tessa Robinson Avatar
Hayden Hurst holding his Face the Fight cleats
Hayden Hurst, photo courtesy USAA

Inspired by his own journey with mental health and in an effort to raise awareness around military veteran suicide prevention, Panthers TE Hayden Hurst has chosen to honor Face The Fight, a coalition founded by USAA with aspirations to cut the military veteran suicide rates by half, and The Hayden Hurst Family Foundation, for this year’s NFL My Cause My Cleats campaign.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – NOVEMBER 05: Hayden Hurst #81 of the Carolina Panthers takes the field before their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Bank of America Stadium on November 05, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

To support the campaign, Hurst put service into action by meeting with two service members (one active reserves, one retired) for an intimate conversation to share stories of their unique battles with mental health and their personal struggles with suicide. In the video, Hurst demonstrates how a vulnerable conversation – whether between NFL players, civilians, or service members – has a tremendous impact to support those struggling.  

The inspiring content piece also gives a behind-the-scenes look at the design elements of his cleats before the big “unboxing” moment, where Hayden sees the cleats for the first time.

Cleat Design Information

  1. One cleat honors Face The Fight, with dedications to the brave veterans he met, Vernard and Melissa
  2. One cleat honors the Hayden Hurst Family Foundation, with dedications to his friends/family
  3. Additional elements include 988, the Suicide Prevention Hotline, and a brain symbolizing mental health
  4. One cleat has digital camo schemes and one cleat resembles a military boot
  5. The cleats were designed by Marcus Rivero, Soles by Sir
  6. Cleats will be worn in Week 13 (Sunday, Dec. 3) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hurst’s cleats; photo courtesy USAA

Face the Fight is headed by USAA, The Humana Foundation and Reach Resilience, an Endeavors Foundation. Their mission is to cut veteran suicide by half over the next six years. The coalition will invest $41 million in philanthropic grants and will focus on supporting nonprofit programs with specific focus areas in preventing suicide. 

“Veteran suicide is a national tragedy, and the DoD and VA, along with many nonprofit organizations, are already doing meaningful work to combat the problem,” Wayne Peacock, USAA president and CEO, said. “At USAA, we saw an opportunity to use our expertise, network and connection to the military community to join the fight. Through Face the Fight, the business community can be nimble in complementing existing work, as well as reach veterans who may not be accessing care or resources through the VA system.” 

Learn more about USAA’s effort to Face the Fight, here.