Former Stewarts Creek coach Martin turns focus to teen suicide

Former Stewarts Creek football coach David Martin, who spent 45 years in education and 30 years coaching, is now trying to tackle a different opponent.

Martin is now working for the Jason Foundation, which focuses on teen suicide awareness and prevention.

The non-profit organization that was founded in 1997 is named after Jason Flatt, a standout athlete after taking his own life.

"I've been involved with the organization since Jason, who played for me (at Goodpasture), took his life," Martin said. "I was on the original board when it started and have served as chairman of the board.

"They've been asking me to work with coaches. We'll be working with coaches and their associations in Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas."

Martin said the Jason Foundation primarily focuses on educating high school football coaches, but hopes to grow and reach out to other sports coaches in the future.

"Suicide is the second leading cause of death in our country in ages 10 to 24," Martin said. "It's one of those things nobody talk about. It's more and more prevalent now. It's a big problem that continues to go on and one."

Martin admits it will be odd not leading a football team next week when practice begins, but has no regrets about his retirement from coaching.

"I'm still going to be working with coaches and associations in the sports arena," Martin said. "When you close one chapter, you're ready to start another. It's something I'm very passionate about.

"I'll travel and meet coaches and it will fun to meet new people and try to educate them and help them be aware of signs that can lead to suicide."

Four out of five young people who attempt suicide have provided clear warning signs prior to the attempt. By knowing the warning signs associated with suicide and knowing how to help, a life can be saved. The Jason Foundation has never charged a school, church, organization or community for the use of any of its programs or materials. To learn more about The Jason Foundation and their possibly life-saving programs, visit their website at www.jasonfoundation.com.  

Martin, who had a 231-129 overall record in 30 seasons, was 22-39 in six seasons at Stewarts Creek after starting the program in 2013. He led the Red Hawks to their first state playoff appearance in 2016. He won three state titles at Goodpasture.

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