Missoula teen organizes rugby tournament for suicide prevention
MISSOULA, Mont. - In 10 days, hundreds of high school boys will compete at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in one of Montana's biggest rugby tournaments of the year.
The tournament is being organized by Big Sky High School senior Jason Riekena. He lost his younger brother, Jack, to suicide in 2012, and Riekena is dedicating the tournament to Jack's memory, and to suicide awareness and prevention.
"(Rugby) is a game that, once you play it, or you see it, you usually want to try it out," said Riekena, "That's how we build our team."
Riekena captains the Mud Dogs, Missoula's high school rugby team. He says he joined the team 3 years ago with Jack.
"He started playing rugby before me. Kind of got me hooked after I started watching it," said Riekena. "He loved rugby. It affected not only me, it affected our whole team."
Riekena says Jack's death shocked everyone, but in hindsight, he says there were signals that something was wrong.
"I talked to him 15 minutes before… that's kind of hard," said Riekena. "Then, when you look back at the signs, you're like, 'Yeah, he showed everything.' But with me not thinking or expecting it."
Riekena says he hopes the Jack Riekena Memorial Rugby 7's Tournament will raise money and awareness for suicide prevention.
"I see it as a way to do something Jack loved, and then promote a cause for something we don't want to see happen that's a problem throughout Montana and this country," said Riekena. "When we hear about suicides, we want to help. We know how they feel. We just want to make sure people know that they're not the only ones dealing with it."
The tournament will be held on April 5. For more information, click here.
To learn more about suicide prevention in Montana, click here.