Utah Utes Quarterback Advocating For Mental Health In Memory Of High School Friend

Feb 13, 2024, 4:30 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football walk-on quarterback Luke Bottari was a difference maker out on the field for the Utes in the 2023 season, but more importantly, he’s been a difference maker out in the community for years advocating for mental health.

In 2017, while still in high school, Bottari lost a friend at the age of 15 due to struggles with mental health. That loss prompted Bottari into action, starting a nonprofit Play4Prevention with the help of his mother, Natasha who also competed for the Utes on the swim team.

“When she passed away- it had a huge impact on all of my friends and peers at the schools we were at,” Bottari said in a video clip released by the Pac-12 Networks. “I saw the impact that it had and didn’t want the community- her family, our friends, to have to experience something like that again. I wanted to do something. I wanted to honor her in a way.”

Utah Utes Tackle Mental Health

Bottari and his mother aren’t the only Utes taking action in the realm of mental health.

Former Utah wide receiver David Kozlowski found his life’s calling as a therapist after his struggles with mental health came to a head while he was playing football under former head coach Ron McBride.

Kozlowski has now been a staple in the Utah community for years with his teen groups (Quit Trip’n) that have since morphed into a high school curriculum, assembly and podcast (OG Therapy) with the help of other former Utes Kenneth Scott and Robert Johnson.


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Additionally, former Utah basketball star Jarred DuBois is also making an impact in the mental health realm as well using his platform as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers to reach those who need hope.

DuBois’ nonprofit, Everyone Has A Story recently made a stop in Salt Lake City last year for NBA All Star Weekend where a discussion panel was put together with some of the best mental health specialists and rising NBA stars discussing the importance of seeking help when you need it.


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If you or someone you know is struggling the National Suicide Lifeline is available 24/7 online or at 988.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Utes Quarterback Advocating For Mental Health In Memory Of High School Friend