Lacrosse Tournament Helps Remember John Mack

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Feb 9, 2009 at 1:25 AM EDT

Local lacrosse teams strapped up this weekend to honor a fellow, fallen lacrosse player.

The annual John Mack Southern Tier Shootout raises money to prevent the deaths of athletes while on the playing field.

John Mack was a student at Binghamton High School when he died from a stick check to his chest during a pick-up lacrosse game three years ago.

"It's a pretty devastating thing, and we really don't want to see any other parents go through that," said John's uncle, Rob Mack.

If there was a defibrillator like this one present at the game John died at, trainers say it's likely he would have survived.

"It took 19 minutes for an AED to get there and at that point, he must have suffered from irreparable brain damage," said Certified Trainer Becky Lawrence.

Mack's family and area coaches came together and decided to rename an annual preseason tournament after John Mack.

More than 50 teams competed this year, here at the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex.

In three years, the tournament has raised over 10 thousand dollars.

"We've been using the proceeds to buy defibrillators and AED training programs at the area high schools," said Rob Mack.

Rob Mack says the tournament has helped put 30 defibrillators in athletic facilities across the community.

A tremendous effort, but one local coach says more are needed.

A defibrillator needs to be present at every athletic event," said Union-Endicott Head Coach Jon Stank.

Around 1,000 players participate in the tournament.

Chenango Valley defenseman Adam Wilcox says it's critical to have this tournament and to raise money for defibrillators.

"If you get hit right, and your heart skips and you go down, you need a defibrillator," said Wilcox.

A small, but expensive, device which could make the difference between life and death for all athletes.

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