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The fight for life

By By Matthew Nascone
I don't know to what capacity the Alabama High School Athletic Association will assist The Jason Foundation, but whatever capacity that is, it will be great.
The Jason Foundation Inc. and the AHSAA have joined forces as of Jan. 17 and the foundation is one that attempts to curb the problem of youth suicide.
With all the pressures of sports, it is great to see the state of Alabama get behind such a great organization.
I know from personal experience that sports can be a lot more stressful than they seem. I never myself took the pressure as far as wanting to commit suicide, but I could see how athletics could push someone that far.
There are many situations that would push a young student to the brink where he feels he has nowhere to go if he does not succeed in sports. My upbringing was such that I never even contemplated suicide, but I played baseball with certain individuals who had pressure coming at them left and right.
Even playing baseball as a 10-year-old I saw parents and coaches who were extremely too hard on the players who were just out there to have a good time. Some kids in those situations quit before the pressure became unbearable, but some of them could not get out from under the grip of their parent or coach.
I felt bad for them because my dad would always leave the talking after a bad game up to me. If I wanted to talk about my performance we would, but if I didn't then he would leave it alone.
That was so great to have a father like that because I knew that the only pressure that was ever going to be put on me in sports would be from my coaches or myself. And an oppressive coach is a lot easier to deal with than an oppressive parent.
I know I have told him this before, but I would like to say thank you to my father once again for not pressuring me into a situation where I would even think about taking my own life.
Suicide is the leading cause of teen death and I hope this partnership between this great foundation and the AHSAA will help locate the teens that are in trouble and get them the assistance they need before it is too late.
The AHSAA will be providing curriculum for its schools to adopt and follow. I hate when people try to ignore this problem or say it is someone else's problem. This partnership shows that the AHSAA cares for the athletes who compete under its jurisdiction.
There was not even a second of hesitation when the AHSAA's Central Board of Control wanted to partner with Jason Foundation. The motion was passed unanimously in the Board's meeting and more information about the program available to all schools affiliated with the AHSAA can be found at the Web site, www.ahsaa.com.
Here is to many years of partnership between the two groups. I just hope the Foundation can help the many athletes who struggle with this problem every day.
Matthew Nascone is the sports editor of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or online at sports@atmoreadvance.com.