Health & Wellness Consortium (HAWC) Announced To Combat Teen Suicide

A month to the day since the body of 13-year-old Emma Pangelinan of the OC Batbusters organization was found at a park in Mission Viejo, California, and ruled a suicide, a collection of the top influencers in softball have announced the formation of the Health and Wellness Consortium (HAWC) to help develop national and local strategies to increase awareness of health and wellness education for players, parents, and coaches.

Mike Stith, leader of the OC Batbusters organization, is collaborating with the softball community to create long-term change in health and wellness for the sport.

"This tragedy will be the impetus for change," Stith said. "We are coming together with a common goal of raising the standards in the areas of health and wellness for our families to better enjoy their softball experience."

These significant contributors include Jen Schroeder of The Packaged Deal; Tony Rico of the Firecrackers organization; Stith and Tim Shockey with the OC Batbusters; Dr. Casey Cooper, a subject matter expert in counseling youth; and Dr. Suzy McNulty, a pediatrician.

"There is an important message we need to share regarding developing our student-athletes’ self-worth: ‘Perfection is not only not attainable, but dangerous. Perfection should not be the goal; rather, their personal best,’” said McNulty, who is also a softball coach with two daughters who play the sport. 

The Health and Wellness Consortium has also confirmed interest and support from local USA Softball influencers and will reach out to all associations for their support.

One of those important governing bodies is Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) and its President, Dan Hay.

“I hope all associations will participate in this collaborative group," Hay said. "PGF is committed to our mission to provide relevant and accurate information to all families in health and wellness.”

The HAWC will work with all national associations, medical experts, administrators, coaches, and players. The leaders of the Health and Wellness Consortium say they will have a long-term strategy with a multi-phased rollout.

The Health and Wellness Consortium has revealed a four-step action plan:

1. Identify relevant and accurate education.
2. Provide a standardized framework for local communities to disseminate information.
3. Develop a national calendar to tackle this multi-faceted issue through local events and online education services.
4. Educate the coaches and empower the players and parents to create the change on the local level.

It’s all critical, according to the HAWC leaders, that the information needs to be free to all families.

Teen suicide has become a nationwide epidemic and in Pangelinan’s home area, Orange County, the American Academy of Pediatrics — one of the organizations the HAWC will work with frequently — announced this month that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24.

According to licensed sports psychologist Casey Cooper, Ph.D., “The most recent data suggests 40 percent of youth identify as perfectionists and is a newly emerging risk factor when assessing for suicidal thoughts and behavior. Given the intensely competitive culture of athletics, it is critical to the safety of our adolescent athletes that we actively seek new ways to cultivate a culture of excellence for our parent and coaches.”

Tragically, this wasn’t just an isolated incident specific to the sport of softball.

Since Pangelinan’s death a month ago, there have been two additional teen suicides committed by well-known athletes in Orange County. In addition, there was a fourth suicide by a college football player from Orange County just prior to Pangelinan’s suicide.

The focus of the HAWC, according to its leaders, is to have it serve as a tool for everyone to use. It will be important to provide this information and strategies to implement the education for all families, free of charge.

By Brentt Eads

USA Softball Sweeps Sunday Against Japan & China

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloSoftball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Monica Abbott: Million Dollar Arm Episode 1

IRVINE, Calif. – It was a Championship finish for USA Red (World Championship roster) as the team soared to a 10-5 win over Japan in the grand finale of the USA Softball International Cup.  This marked the first time since the 2013 Canada Cup that a U.S. team had put 10 runs on the board against Japan and won.  For USA Blue (Japan All-Star Series roster), a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over China earned the team a Bronze Medal finish.

Canada Cup: How To Watch, Time, & Live Stream Info

The 2018 Canada Cup International Softball Championship is streaming live from July 17-22 in Surrey, British Columbia, and will feature top teams such as Team Canada, China, New Zealand, Korea, and more.

Tennessee Pitcher Gabby Sprang Transfers To Oklahoma State

STILLWATER – The Oklahoma State softball team added its third SEC transfer in the past two weeks Friday, as former Tennessee pitcher Gabby Sprang signed her letter of intent to join the Cowgirls beginning this fall. Sprang joins Samantha Show (Texas A&M) and Sydney Springfield (LSU) in head coach Kenny Gajewski's incoming class of transfers from the SEC.

USA Red & Japan Meet In The USA International Cup Championship Game

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloSoftball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Monica Abbott: Million Dollar Arm Episode 1

IRVINE, Calif. – The field has been set for Championship Sunday at the inaugural USA Softball International Cup after the final day of round-robin action came to a conclusion. USA Red (World Championship roster), who had already secured the No. 1 seed in Pool A, defeated Chinese Taipei 11-2 while USA Blue (Japan All-Star Series roster) staked their claim on the No. 2 seed in Pool B after suffering a 5-3 loss to Japan.

Jacksonville Storm Stripped Of TC/USA National Championship

Fort Collins, Colo. -- The 16U Jacksonville Storm Girls Fastpitch Softball team was stripped of its National Championship within two hours after completion of the TC/USA Nationals 16 Open championship game in Cumming, GA., on July 12. Triple Crown Sports was contacted by team representatives following completion of the game notifying that they had played two age ineligible players in the semis and then one in the championship game.  Both were over the legal age to play in this age group.

Oklahoma Softball Adds Transfer Shannon Saile To 2019 Roster

On The Field With Oklahoma Softball

NORMAN — Oklahoma head softball coach Patty Gasso announced Thursday the addition of transfer pitcher Shannon Saile for the upcoming 2019 season. The right-hander will have two years of eligibility remaining when she joins the Sooners this fall.

USA & Japan Remain Undefeated At The USA Softball International Cup

Amanda Chidester's Biggest Lesson Learned

IRVINE, Calif. – Only three teams remain undefeated at the USA Softball International Cup after four complete days of play.  Both USA Softball Women’s National Teams, USA Blue (Japan All-Star Series roster) and USA Red (World Championship roster), along with Japan have gone perfect through pool play thus far.  For USA Blue, a 6-1 win over Canada continued their winning ways while USA Red pushed across an 11-5 win over Scrap Yard Fast Pitch.

This Week's Verbal Commits & Team Changes (7/12)

This week we catch up on a number of Beverly Bandits that made verbal commitments that we missed. The biggest commit change was corner lefty slugger Nikki Cuchran who was committed to DePaul and later signed with Northwestern after longtime coach Eugene Lenti retired. 

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloSoftball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Carley Hoover & Ally Carda Combine For Columbia Shutout

2018 USA Softball Tryouts: Day 2

IRVINE, Calif. – The action continued at the USA Softball International Cup as USA Blue (Japan All-Star Series roster) posted an 18-0 (three innings) win over Colombia while USA Red (World Championship roster) had an off day in their pool play schedule.

Rising Star: Is Bailey Dowling The Best Shortstop In Illinois?

PGF 2018 Nationals Hype

Rising high school junior Bailey Dowling is one of the top shortstops in her home state of Illinois, but being social wasn’t something she was very interested in as a child.