BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – A local lacrosse tournament continues to honor the life of a Binghamton teenager, while also raising awareness.
The 12th annual 'John Mack Southern Tier Shootout' was held at the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex on Saturday and Sunday.
The two-day tournament is named in honor of 17 year-old John Mack, who died of cardiac arrest while playing lacrosse for Binghamton High School in 2006.
"The Mack family has been in the lacrosse world for over 40 years in Binghamton," said Ronald Mack, John's Uncle.
Now the 'John Mack Southern Tier Shootout' continues to bring teams from all across the country together.
“Lacrosse is the number one growing sport in the country. It's growing because the kids have a blast," said Aaron Caporuscio, the coach for the women's “Volts Lacrosse Club” in northeast Pennsylvania.
The teams are playing only for sport, but also in honor of Mack.
"Johnny Mack was a really talented athlete. Playing for Binghamton High School lacrosse - probably played since he was five years old," Ronald Mack added. “He played in the very first Southern Tier Shootout, then when John passed away, we renamed the tournament the John Mack Southern Tier Shootout."
Now 12 years later, the event and the John Mack foundation have raised thousands of dollars for automated external defibrillators.
"We give them to sports clubs, non-profit organizations. We've put well over 100 into the community," Ronald Mack, explained.
Lacrosse teams from across the country are supporting their effort to provide more AED's for sports teams.
"It's always a good cause to support. We have two of those AED's that we use from our program and it's important to have on the sidelines," said Caporuscio.
The John Mack Foundation hopes as the tournament grows, so will the message about heart emergency preparedness.
"The lacrosse community loves to come to this tournament. It's a good tournament and it's done for the right reasons," said Ronald Mack.
According to event organizers, the 'John Mack Southern Tier Shootout' is the largest indoor lacrosse tournament in the nation.
The John Mack foundation says over the past 12 years, they have raised more than $200,000 for AED's. They have also raised money to provide equipment to train the community on how to handle a heart related emergency.