University of Toledo rushes to football team's side after 11-year-old's suicide

University of Toledo rushes to football team's side after 11-year-old's suicide

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - When news had spread of the tragic suicide of 11 year-old Taquairius McDonald, the University of Toledo went right to work in helping his football team.

Jen Fulwider, a UT graduate student realized right away that the boy's teammates would really struggle with his death. So she and a team of their own met with the football team on Wednesday night.

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach is one of the leading experts on bullying and suicide prevention. She's the director of the UT Center for Education in Targeted Violence and Suicide. She said her team was very worried about Taquairius' friends on the Whittier football team since they were in such shock.

Her team went to see them in case any of them were being bullied or dealing with other problems and might have seen suicide as an answer. Dr. Kovach wants all kids to know that there is always someone they can talk to.

The UT group promised to be there for the team and also talked to parents about conversations they should be having with their kids.

"We let them know it's not their fault and I think it's important when something like this does happen to rally around those closest to the individual family, friends, but also making sure they're using this, their anger or shock of whatever they're feeling, those emotions, to change things," said Dr. Kovach.

Jen Fulwider added, "It's time to speak up, step up, stop it. I mean that's all there really is to it. There's usually a clue, there's usually a leak and we need to pay attention to people around us and support them as much as we can."

The UT team also gave the boys "Step Up-Stop Suicide" bracelets. They're encouraged to look down at them any time they see someone who is alone and having trouble in life.

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