Jason Stinson, the football coach of Pleasure Ridge High School in Kentucky, has been charged with reckless homicide in the death of a teenage player, Max Gilpin, 15. Gilpin collapsed from heat exhaustion on August 20, 2008 during a practice and died three days later. Gilpin died during a “gasser” where students sprint up and down the field.
It is a rare charge against a coach for such a death. Heat stroke deaths are not uncommon among teenage players, as in this California case. Such deaths have even occurred in the National Football League as with the death Korey Stringer, a 335-pound All-Pro offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings.
Notably, the grand jury denied Stinson’s request to give testimony — an odd decision. While targets are not generally subpoenaed to testify, they are allowed to testify at their own risk. It is unclear why a jury would not want to hear from the accused and instead act on a summary of interviews from witnesses. There is an obvious suspicion that the prosecutors encouraged the denial but no information was offered on the question.
Records show that Gilpin’s body temperature reached 107 degrees and witnesses said Stinson refused to allow him to drink water on that day.
The parents have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against six coaches claiming negligence, focusing on a critical 20 minutes that elapsed between the time when Gilpin collapsed and when they called paramedics.
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