Across the borderlinecrop
iBRANDON MARSHALL. Following his diagnosis three years ago, Marshall, now 30 and a Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, set an ambitious goal: become for mental health what Magic Johnson is for HIV. He wants to make an off-limits subject commonplace. He’s reaching out to players who might need help, teaming with mental health organizations through his charity and raising awareness and cash for early-detection programs. “Where we are now is where the HIV community was 25 years ago,” he says. “We can raise all the money in the world, but people might not go get help. They’re still going to see it as a taboo topic. So it’s important for us to get the conversation started.”

In July 2011, Marshall called a news conference to announce the diagnosis of BPD. Three months earlier, his wife, Michi, had been arrested and Marshall had been hospitalized after an argument. Police said Michi had stabbed him with a kitchen knife in self-defense; the two later said he was cut by broken glass. Out of respect for his marriage, he wouldn’t share details, he told reporters, but he wanted them to know that his wife was no villain. He remembered her looking up at him from the back of a police car, pain in her eyes, and saying, “Someone will learn from this story.”

That January, Marshall had started seeing Dr. John Gunderson, director of psychosocial and personality research at McLean Hospital near Boston, but he’d given up on therapy. After the incident, Gunderson emailed him: “I heard, now call me and we can see where we can go from here.” Still, Marshall was unmoved until his agent and assistant staged an intervention. “They said, ‘Brandon, we really want you to go back,'” he says. “I prayed on it and said, ‘OK, I will go”…. A version of this story appears in ESPN The Magazine’s July 7 Comeback Issue.  –Marin Cogan, ESPN, February 24, 2015