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Sylvania water polo tournament brings awareness to suicide prevention

The inaugural Jack Coate Memorial Tournament honors Coate, who died by suicide a year ago.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — Sylvania Water Polo and St. Francis De Sales teamed up to host the inaugural Jack Coate Memorial Tournament on Friday with the goal of raising awareness of suicide prevention.

Just over a year ago, Sylvania Water Polo player and Sylvania Southview student Jack Coate died by suicide. Just weeks ago Sylvania Northview student and hockey player Aiden Carter took his own life.

Organizers and advocates like SWP Secretary Cindy White said the event is one step toward bringing awareness to the issue affecting students nationwide.

"Two big schools get together, get our message heard and get some help for these kids," White said.

Parents like White don't want to see any more students lost too soon.

"We have to do something now, the longer we wait the worse it's going to be," she said.

Coate's former coach, Alberto Almeida, is proud to put on the inaugural event because he knows how much of an impact kids like Coate had.

"He was a machine, he was like tireless, 'Yes coach, yes coach, yes coach.' Fantastic kid. He was tutoring the younger kids," Almeida said.

He also understands the pressures of balancing sports and school as a coach. He said preparedness, organization and communication are important for students that may be struggling with mental health issues.

"Talk to your kids, talk to your parents, talk to your family," Almeida said. "That's what brings situations of this nature. Because they don't talk, they don't express, they don't ask for help."

White has a goal of spreading the game and message further by hosting teams from all over northwest Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania in the coming years. They already had teams from Cincinnati and Columbus playing this year.

The tournament will start Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sylvania Northview and St. Francis De Sales' pools. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and kids under five are free.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8.

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