About two dozen student athletes from Dedham High School attended a conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on the dangers of underage drinking and driving where some said they learned that they should set a good example for their classmates by making good choices.
Colby Flis, a junior who plays soccer and runs track, said that he wants to be a leader for other students and that he would encourage his classmates not to smoke or drink.
“I should do more to stop people from doing things they do,” said Flis. He said he would be there to support his friends and speak up more to try to get them from making bad decisions, like underage drinking.
Vinny Iarrobino, a junior who plays basketball, said he would lead by example and make his own decisions regardless of what his friends are doing.
“You have to think about what you want and if people aren’t with you, you do what you've got to do to get there,” said Iarrobino.
Sarah Panzau, a former Junior College All-American athlete, told the students about a severe car accident that she was in after she drove drunk. She was given no chance of survival by responders on the scene of the accident. She ended up losing her left arm and suffered numerous other injuries.
She told the students that she is “living proof of what happens to people who make poor choices.”
New England Patriot Patrick Pass told the students about a friend of his in high school who died after his friend drove drunk and steered off the road, hitting a tree.
David McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director, spoke to students about the lessons that he has learned throughout his running career. He told the students to “stay in the game” and participate in life.
The state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security hosted the conference.
Sheila Burgess, director of highway safety, said that student athletes were invited to the conference because they are leaders in their schools who can influence other students and because student athletes are susceptible to underage binge drinking.
“We want to let these athletes know what it does to your body, performance, and what the consequences are,” said Burgess.
Sarah Favot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.