The Jake Lord Play It Safe Foundation basketball games will be held Friday, Nov. 29, at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay. The event is being organized by staff from the school and LEAP in Farmington, after Larry Lord’s family said they could not do it this year because Larry Lord remains hospitalized in serious condition following a propane gas explosion at the LEAP offices where he was working last month. Livermore Falls Advertiser file photo

JAY — The basketball games held annually the Friday after Thanksgiving to raise money for the Jake Lord Play It Safe Foundation will be held as scheduled with more games and new organizers.

The foundation was established in 2012 in memory of Jake Lord, a star athlete and Jay native who took his life at the age of 18 after enduring multiple sports related concussions.

The foundation’s mission is to promote safety in youth sports, to increase public awareness of the impact of concussions on the mental health of athletes and to promote public policies that will protect youth from the devastating consequences of head injuries.

Jake’s father, Larry Lord was critically injured last month in a propane gas explosion Sept. 16 at the LEAP central offices in Farmington where he served as maintenance supervisor. He was listed in serious condition this week at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

When Spruce Mountain High School Athletic Director Keller was told the Lord family couldn’t organize the event this year, staff from the school and LEAP offered to do it.

Keller said he and Lord’s daughter, Jenna Lord Winokur, had talked about expanding the event. Participating teams were scheduled prior to Sept. 16.

Megan Goodine is the lead person for LEAP, which stands for Life Enrichment Advancing People. The agency supports those with developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities to be actively involved in their home communities.

Spruce staff and Lord family members, along with Larry’s co-workers at LEAP, maintenance staff and program administrators are planning the event and ensure no one who helped in the past is left out.

“We’re looking to expand the silent auction and basket raffle items,” Goodine said. “We’re soliciting in Farmington, New Sharon, Belgrade, Waterville and Augusta. This gives the Spruce and LEAP communities something to do for the Lord family in the aftermath of Sept. 16. Both communities are so eager to do something for the Lords we are going to be inundated with volunteers.

“While the Lord family is focusing on Larry’s healing, we’ll focus on the basketball tournament,” she said. “We’re happy to carry the torch this year, will hand it off next year and support from the bench.”

Keller said there will be three games each featuring girls and boys varsity teams.

For the girls, Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, Leavitt Area High School in Turner and Mt. View High School in Thorndike will play two games each starting at 12:45 p.m.

For boys, Spruce Mountain, Mt. View and Buckfield High School will play two games each starting at 4:30 p.m. Each game is scheduled for one hour and 15 minutes.

A silent auction, raffles, prizes, a 50/50, concessions and games are also planned. Donations will be accepted at the door.

“We’ve received some major donations already from the Boston Red Sox, etc.,” Keller said. “A lot of help has been offered to pick up donations, make food for concessions and help that day.”

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