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Akron high school football player drowns during team outing

Victim identified at 14-year-old Toshaye Pope
Toshaye Pope
Posted at 9:45 AM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 21:58:19-04

AKRON, Ohio  — A rising freshman who planned to play on the Akron Ellet High School football team drowned during a team outing last week in Springfield Township.

According to Springfield Police Sgt. Eric East, the department received a call on Thursday at 1:45 p.m. about a teen under the water at Melanie Lake for an unknown amount of time.

Initial reports indicated that kids were jumping off a dock and a diving board. Investigators said when 14-year-old Toshaye Pope went into the water, he began to struggle and went below the surface.

Lifeguards went into the water, brought Pope to shore and performed CPR before EMS arrived, East told News 5.

The teen was transported to Akron Children's Hospital and died Saturday night.

Jeremy Caudill, the managing partner for Melanie Lake released a statement on Sunday night via Facebook.

Additionally, Akron Public Schools released the following statement:

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

According to the district, Pope was going to attend Akron Early College High School but would have played football at Ellet since his specialty school doesn't have a team.

Pope's former principal at Hyre Community Learning Center, Larry Bender, said that Pope was a great student and respected by his peers.

"It's really hard to talk about him. He was a great kid. Young man, not a kid," Bender said. "I know that there was an accident and God called him home."

The district said it will be investigating what happened to Pope.

Police are investigating the incident as an accident.