When Rhett Atkinson puts on his softball jersey and catcher’s mask this year, he will be thinking of Logan Parent.
Big Logan, as six-year-old Rhett called him, was a huge influence on the young South Cariboo Minor Softball player, both on and off the diamond. When he died last year, Rhett wanted a way to remember him. While he couldn’t get a tattoo of his initials like Logan’s friends did, Rhett asked the league if he could have Logan’s initials and softball number 14 on the sleeve of his own jersey.
The league decided rather than make a custom shirt for Rhett, it would print LP14 on every one of its jerseys this year, to remember the 20-year-old youth. The jerseys were handed out to the teams on May 17, much to Rhett’s pleasure. “He was my brother. We used to fish and go to rodeos together,” he said.
Cindy and Greg Parent said this memorial was especially meaningful. Logan, their eldest child, died of suicide in October 2020.
Cindy said her son had suffered several concussions while playing hockey and bull riding, which she partly attributes to his death.
The Parents, along with some of Logan’s close friends, are in the process of setting up a society dedicated to raising awareness about concussions and mental health in youth sports. They intend to call it the Logan Parent Foundation.
“We have created this society to bring awareness to the seriousness of (brain damage). It may not look like a broken arm that you have to stop and take care of but it’s just as serious as that, if not more,” Cindy said. “If you take a blow to the head, you don’t just get up and carry on.”
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Her son was involved in sports from a young age, playing softball and hockey, following in his dad’s footsteps. He played softball with the league from the age of U6, and rep ball from U10 onward. He was highly competitive and played in multiple provincial and Western Canadian championships.
“He started off fairly early as a back catcher and that was his passion. He enjoyed catching for his friends Mitchell Hooper and Trevor McMahon, both of whom were pitchers,” Cindy said.
Logan also played hockey and enjoyed downhill dirtbiking at the Slope Line bike park. He took up bull riding when he was 16. His father Greg said he always wanted to be the best he could and started coaching Rhett’s softball team in 2019. Rhett said Logan introduced him to the position of back catcher, which he loves.
“(Logan) was excited to get out there with Rhett and the other little kids, too, and help them out,” Cindy said.
She added Logan would be would have been “nothing but honoured” by the tribute.
“He was a very humble boy. This would probably make him blush. I think it’s a lovely tribute to keep his name alive.”