About the Speaker Series

Former NFL player Ryan Leaf shared his poignant and brutally honest personal story to a full-capacity audience at the Ball State Alumni Center as part of Meridian’s Community Health Speaker Series. Leaf, selected as the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft after Peyton Manning, had a career full of expectations he didn't live up to. That failure, coupled with his inability to live life on life's terms, led to drug addiction and landed him in a prison cell—both physically and emotionally.

Leaf has since become a symbol of peace and inspiration for those who struggle with substance use and mental illness.

Following Leaf’s presentation, a discussion panel comprised of community leaders and officials followed and engaged the audience discussing issues related to substance use, recovery, and ideas for local solutions.

Thank you to the following Moderator and Panelists who participated in this Speaker Series event


Juli Metzger, MS Journalism Professor, Ball State University


Dr. Kristina Box OB/GYN, Indiana State Health Commissioner
Tim Lanane Indiana State Senator
Dr. Brent Damer Orthopedic Surgeon, Central Indiana Orthopedics
Dan Ridenour Mayor-Elect, City of Muncie
Lisa Suttle, RN-BC, MS Regional Vice President Clinical Services, Meridian Health Services
Zach Craig Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Delaware County
Rhea Graham Success Patient & Peer Recovery Specialist, Meridian Health Services