September is Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Month.
We've broached the topic here before in support of recent Ohio legislation requiring high school coaches to undergo mental health training to better help our kids. That's right. OUR kids.
It's a harrowing statistic to wrap one's brain around, but research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2021 delivered the startling truth that more than 4 in 10 high school students in America felt persistently sad or hopeless. More than 1 in 5 seriously considered attempting suicide. 1 in 5. There are roughly 45 kids on a varsity team. That means on average, nine of those players have thought about taking their own life.
Let that sink in.
As we work to grow the game, the game itself can be an ally in this battle against suicide and mental health. Only a small percentage (roughly 7%) of high school athletes will go on to play their sport in college. Do we want to introduce and teach the sport to those 7%? Absolutely. But lacrosse and sports in general is more than that. Because while only 7% will "make it," 100% should make it to adulthood.
Lacrosse is more than a game. It's a team. It's brotherhood and sisterhood. It's roots. It's history. It can be a lifeline.