High school football player dies during team outing; family hires attorney for answers

Officials said Toshaye Pope, a high school football player, drowned during a team outing.
Officials said Toshaye Pope, a high school football player, drowned during a team outing.(Akron Public Schools)
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 12:10 PM PDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO/Gray News) - The family of a 14-year-old boy who drowned during a football team outing wants answers about what happened.

WOIO reports Toshaye Pope was a player on the Ellet High School football team when the group went swimming at Melanie Lake on July 21.

Authorities said the 14-year-old’s body was pulled from the lake. He later died at the Akron Children’s Hospital on July 23.

Toshaye’s family said they have since hired attorney Allen Tittle to investigate whether the safety rules were followed by all involved in the incident.

Tittle said the school did not inform Toshaye’s parents about the swimming outing at the lake until they received a call from law enforcement as he was being rushed to the hospital.

Tittle released the following statement on behalf of the family: “The family is heartbroken and in grief because of the loss of their son. This young man was the kind of son every parent would hope for; he was a scholar-athlete with a positive personality that could light up the room. The family is devastated.”

According to school officials, Toshaye was an incoming freshman at the Akron Early College High School and was allowed to play for Ellet High School because the early college school did not have a football team.

“The Akron Public Schools family is saddened by the news of the passing of this young man, and there has begun an inquiry into just what happened. We are offering grief counseling and ask for prayers for the family,” Akron Public Schools Superintendent Christine Fowler Mack said.

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