Oakwood tennis players to honor Cincinnati teen who died in van

Members of the Oakwood High varsity boys’ tennis team will do something special to honor Kyle Plush, the Cincinnati teen who died this month when he suffocated after being pinned by a seat in his minivan.

Oakwood will honor Plush, 16, during the team’s home match against Cincinnati Seven Hills on Monday.

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Plush called 911 twice on the afternoon of April 10, screaming and pleading for help as he suffocated inside his gold Honda Odyssey in a parking lot at his school.

The news shocked people across the country and also touched student athletes like Oakwood tennis players Sam Lahmon and Peter Haverland.

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Lahmon, a junior, who is captain of the team, sought out his coach about doing something special to honor Plush and provide comfort to his teammates.

“My family and I saw the news about Kyle on the news and I felt sad and heartbroken about it,” Lahmon said. “I know he’s a tennis kid and it is just hard to see that kind of tragedy happen and also when it happens to somebody in your sport. As a team, we just wanted to reach out and show our sympathy to Kyle’s teammates and show our respect for Kyle.”

Plush, a sophomore on the Seven Hills’ tennis team, was apparently reaching for his tennis gear in the rear hatch of the van when the third-row bench seat tipped backward and pinned him, upside down, in the hatch area with the seat digging into his chest, according to investigators.

Oakwood will wear wristbands that will have Plush’s initials and a heart on them at Monday’s match.

“My mom actually came up with the design for the wristbands,” Lahmon said. “I am glad that we came up with the decision to do this and the team is very supportive of it.”

One very supportive teammate has been Haverland, who is a senior. He believes that the idea will be well-received by players at Seven Hills.

“We are all going to wear matching wrist bands in honor of Kyle. We wanted to do something to commemorate Kyle. It feels very close to home and personal because he was a tennis player and it feels like he was one of us,” Haverland said. “You can feel a lot of sympathy from people all over Ohio and in Dayton and Cincinnati going to Kyle, his teammates and to his family.”

Lahmon and Haverland said this shows how sports can provide an outlet to tragedies that occur in every day life.

“There is a lot of bonding and personal connections that happen in sports,” Haverland said. “This happens to be one of those times.”

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