Jefferson County Public Schools have settled with the parents of a 15 year-old Louisville, Kentucky boy who died of heat stroke at a high school football practice. The insurers will pay $1.75 million to the parents of Max Gilpin, who died three days after suffering severe heat stroke at a Pleasure Ridge High School football practice in 2008.
The parents alleged that the negligence of head coach Jason Stinson and his assistants caused Max's death. The football death suit allegations claimed negligence and reckless disgregard of safety requirements. Stinson was charged criminally with reckless homicide and wanton endangerment. He was fired as football coach, but was later reinstated as a teacher. He was acquitted of the criminal charges in 2009. As part of the civil settlement, the defendants did not admit to any liability in the settlement, The Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
Max's parents plan to use some of the money towards the Max Gilpin Beat the Heat Foundation. They created the foundation to educate students and coaches of the dangers of heat induced injuries.
The case captured national attention, particularly after Stinson became the first high school or college coach in the United States to be charged criminally with allegedly causing a player's heat-related death. He was acquitted in September 2009 after a three-week trial on charges of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment.
Max's parents said they filed the lawsuit largely to determine what happened leading up to their sons death. Witnesses said that the coach required the team to run sprints in 94 degree heat until someone quit the team. Max collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital due to heat stroke. Another play collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital but was relased after receiving treatment.
Coaches have to walk a fine line when it comes to conditioning exercises, especially involving teenagers. Pushing players to increase physical endurance and mental toughness is part of the job description. But, they also must recognize when the players have been pushed to their reasonable limits. Max's parents say that they hope the tragedy will result in a teachable moment for other coaches when their teams play or practice in hot weather.