First mental health awareness basketball games hosted at LT

Both varsity teams win, fundraiser held


Carter Reid ‘23 runs to Will Sullivan ‘24 during lineup announcements on Jan. 28 against Riverside-Brookfield High School at NC fieldhouse (Ross/LION).

George Ross, Reporter

On Jan. 28, LT boys and girls varsity basketball hosted games that highlighted mental health awareness at the NC fieldhouse. The game was titled the Mental Health Awareness Games and the purpose was to mainly raise awareness about student mental health, and all of the resources that are available at LT. This was a concern raised by LT administrators, and Division Chair for Counseling and Student Support Services Drew Eder.

“Adolescent mental health is a huge priority at LTHS,” Eder said. “We are here to listen and help. Putting this topic in such a visible place, such as a varsity basketball game, sends a strong message to our parents and students that they can speak up and ask for help if they have questions or need support.”

Administrators like Athletic Director John Grundke share a similar view as Eder. They hoped this game could help inform students about all of the services in LT, services which might not be known to many students, Grundke said.  

“We want to showcase what we have here,” Grundke said. “A lot of times there is help that is [at LT], but nobody knows about it, so this is a good way to educate people. We are just trying to encourage people to reach out and see how many resources we have here at LT. Even if it’s not for you, maybe for a friend or somebody else.”

During the event, representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) were in the lobby of the Vaughn building to answer any questions or provide resources. Members of the school’s Student Services Department also fielded questions. All proceeds from T-shirt sales and concessions were donated to NAMI.

“We certainly hope [to continue hosting the games],” Eder said. “The event was a success, but we have already identified a few things we can do to make it even more impactful.”

The idea of this event was first started by Principal Jennifer Tyrrell who was inspired by the colleges and universities who had mental health awareness events. Tyrrell then brought this idea to both boys varsity head coach Tom Sloan and girls varsity head coach Meghan Hutchins as well as a group of administrators, and girls assistant coach Melissa Mitidiero. Coaches and administrators then went ahead with the event.

Athletes across the nation also face mental health problems and this game was meant to highlight mental health in athletes as it is an issue that many face. To the players who played in the mental health games, like Ally Cesarini ‘23, the recognition was just as important as the game.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize how damaging playing a sport could be to a person,” Cesarini said. “Athletes face a lot of adversity and challenges in their sports. As an athlete, it felt good to play for this cause because I feel like it brought everyone together.”

Both of the LT teams beat their respective opponents. LT girls varsity basketball beat Lincoln Way West High School 55-52, while the boys varsity team beat Riverside-Brookfield High School 61-49. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health problems, reach out to your LT counselor or a trusted adult.