Tuesday, February 14, 2006


UT Football Coach Fights Youth Suicide

While checking UTSports for basketball information concerning Chris Lofton, our hometown hero, I came across the piece linked above about football coach Phil Fulmer becoming involved in the fight against youth suicide.

"Clark Flatt started a youth suicide awareness organization in 1997 after his 16-year-old son Jason shot and killed himself." The organization is called the Jason Foundation. Flatt approached Fulmer about being a spokesman after the urging of some of his teenage advisors. Fulmer jumped at the chance.
After the teenagers wrote Fulmer a letter, he invited Flatt for a visit.

"He let me get into about two minutes of my prepared speech about why he should do this, and he stopped me," Flatt said. "He said, 'Clark, I didn't invite you up here to sell me on this. I invited you up here to say if you think I can help save one young person's life, tell me how I can do it and I want to work with you.'"

Fulmer has been the national spokesman since 1998.
Fulmer has also recruited others.
He has convinced the other 11 coaches in the Southeastern Conference and 25 others around the country, including Notre Dame's Charlie Weis and Southern California's Pete Carroll, to be foundation ambassadors in their states. The Titan's Jeff Fisher and Dolphins' Nick Saban also are ambassadors.
It's great to significant people becoming involved in this fight.

Here are some statistics on youth suicide.
suicides account for 1.3% of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprise 12.3% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds.

In the past 60 years, the suicide rate has quadrupled for males 15 to 24 years old, and has doubled for females of the same age (CDC, 2002).

Males between the ages of 20 and 24 were 6.6 times more likely than females to complete suicide 2001. Males between 15 and 19 were 4.8 times more likely than females to complete suicide (2001 data).
DrHelen has a on Coach Fulmer's efforts also. I had seen the article at UTSports today while at work. Since I never post to my blog at work I didn't have a chance to write until now. In the mean time, DrHelen wrote her post and talks of a segment she helped with on Volunteer TV. Scooped again, but great minds think alike. This is a subject that can bear all the coverage it can get.

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