Vanderbilt Football Coach Bobby Johnson was recognized for his continuing efforts toward youth suicide prevention when officials of The Jason Foundation presented him with the Grant Teaff "Breaking the Silence" Award during a special ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson, entering his seventh season at the helm of Commodore football, becomes the second collegiate football head coach recognized for his efforts in the cause against youth suicide prevention.
"I'm tremendously honored to receive this recognition," Johnson said. "Clark (Flatt) and The Jason Foundation is doing great work in this area and statistics show that their effort is going a tremendous impact across the nation."
The award is presented annually by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Jason Foundation to the college coach who has done the most for youth suicide prevention. Johnson initially was told of the honor in front of nearly 2,000 college coaches at the American Football Coaches Association convention in early January.
"I can't tell how how helpful Coach Johnson has been to our organization," Flatt said Tuesday. "Bobby wasn't at Vanderbilt more than a couple weeks before I came into his office and introduced myself and The Jason Foundation. From that meeting on, he has been a huge help in getting the word out of youth suicide prevention. I'm extremely pleased to make this presentation to Coach Johnson."
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24. Since its inception a decade ago, The Jason Foundation has worked closely with the American Football Coaches Association membership after data surfaced that youth most often turn to an educator, and specifically, a coach in times of crisis.
The Jason Foundation, based in Hendersonville, Tenn., was created in 1997 after the tragic death of Clark Flatt's 16-year-old son, Jason. In an effort to fight youth suicide, JFI has a mission to educate teachers, workers, parents and youth in the awareness and prevention of this "silent epidemic" through a series of programs and services.
For more information on the effort, visit www.jasonfoundation.com.