Medical experts and sports officials say the indictment of Pleasure Ridge Park, Ky., football coach David Jason Stinson marks the first time a U.S. high school or college football coach has been charged criminally in a player’s death from heat stroke, reports the Louisville Courier Journal. They say the indictment will have a profound impact on coaches and reinforce their responsibility to ensure that players get enough water, shade and rest. “This is huge,” said Doug Casa, director of athletic training education at the University of Connecticut and a national leader in the field of heat-stroke prevention.
Experts on heat stroke and exhaustion say heat deaths of players are totally preventable, if coaches provide water and shade and limit practices to cooler times of the day. Pleasure Ridge Park player Max Gilpin was the third high school football player to die last year in the U.S. from heat-related injuries, and the 33rd high school, college or professional player since 1995. Several high school football coaches said they found the indictment disturbing and say that it could scare away some potential coaches. “You never think that anything you’d do or that might happen could come to this,” said Butler High School coach Scott Carmon. “Now it’s like we’re forced to be part weatherman, part doctors.”