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Fambrough: Think sports are just physical? Upcoming event zeros in on mental health

The Advocate - 1/22/2024

Jan. 20—"Planting Seeds of Hope" does not necessarily sound like an event aimed at high school students. It addresses topics that make people uncomfortable — mental health and suicide.

"I can't let my son's tragedy go to waste," Jordan Tabor said. "I never saw this as what my life would be about.

"But I really believe this is my role. I am passionate about getting the word out."

The event is set for 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Educating parents, coaches and teenagers about the importance of mental health awareness and suicide prevention is the the passion Tabor and his wife, Lisa, never sought.

Their 15-year-old son, Owen, committed suicide last spring. Owen Tabor was a great student and a starting tight end for a Baton Rouge high school.

Like many parents, the Tabors thought their son had it all. What they did not see were his struggles. In response the Tabors have created the Rain Will Bring Flowers Foundation which is driving the PMAC event.

"Statistically in Louisiana, suicide is the No. 2 cause (of death) for adolescents and young adults," Tabor said. "What we're trying to do is get the word out to the communities."

Broadcaster Brandon Saho, who previously worked at WBRZ, will coordinate a roundtable discussion about mental health. Former LSU running back Kevin Faulk, ex-LSU gymnastics star Ashleigh Gnat and former New Orleans Saints player Delvin Breaux are scheduled to join Saho in a discussion about mental health.

The Tabors have contacted schools and school systems across the state with the goal of packing the PMAC. Tabor said the East Baton Rouge Parish School system has been among the most proactive with plans to bring athletes and coaches. The event that has picked up numerous sponsors, including LSU and the Joe Burrow Foundation.

"The goal is to reach as many people as possible," Tabor said.

LHSAA convention

The annual LHSAA convention has a new format but will include votes on some familiar items. The one-day event is set for Thursday at the Crowne Plaza.

Previous LHSAA convention were two-day events. Principals will attend class meetings at 9 a.m., followed by the annual Coca-Cola convention luncheon at 11:15 a.m.

The general assembly vote on all 2024 agenda items follows at 1 p.m. One key part of the agenda is the vote of the divisions playoff format in its select/nonselect split sports the executive committee put into place last year.

That vote was delayed in 2023. Based on the overwhelming passage of the revised definition of what a select school is, these items appear to be on track to pass.

Proposals aimed at reinstating eligibility paths for some ninth-grade students at select schools (private and magnet schools) will be interesting to watch.

How Class C principals vote on proposals to bring their select/nonselect schools back together in the split sports will be notable too.

Prep notable

LSU's Jordan Wright will have his No. 32 jersey retired by The Dunham School on Monday, Jan. 29. Wright is the first Dunham basketball player to have his jersey retired.

After playing four seasons at Vanderbilt, Wright returned home to play for LSU this season as a graduate transfer.


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