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Is this high school coach responsible for this child's death?

By January 26, 2009 - 1:41pm
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A high school coach has been charged with the reckless homicide of a 15 year old boy; authorities said he knowingly ran the teen so hard in training that he collapsed and died of heat exhaustion.

The coach has said he is devastated at the boy's death but others said he knew better and deliberately denied the boy water, in an effort to push him even harder.

For more on the story, read here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/26/football.coach.indicted/index.html

I'm wondering what others think about this? In a time where school sports is highly competitive and coaches have been known to bully, swear and physically push kids into doing better, was this just bound to happen? Do you think it happens a lot? Are the parents of this child right to sue? Where do you stand on this?

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Unfortunately, this isn't the first such case. Coaches are pushed by their schools and parents to create dream teams, yet there is still no excuse for reckless endangerment of a child. And, because this HAS happened before in other schools around the country, why wasn't this coach more conscientious and protective of his athletes?

It's a tragic testament to how sports-centric our schools have become, so much so that kids are driven to forgo college in pursuit of million-dollar signing bonuses and coaches are driven to produce those first draft picks.

January 28, 2009 - 7:05pm

This is surprising to me! I've been pushed hard by coaches, even in the Texas heat, but there was ALWAYS water available and within reach. A good coach can mentally and physically train athletes without depriving them of water. There are also warning signs of heat exhaustion, which were obviously ignored by coach:
The warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:
* Heavy sweating
* Paleness
* Muscle cramps
* Tiredness
* Weakness
* Dizziness
* Headache
* Nausea or vomiting
* Fainting

The skin may be cool and moist. The pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. See medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour."

To prevent heat-related illnesses (heat exhaustion and heat stroke), the CDC recommends, "during hot weather you will need to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. Increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour."

Pushing an athlete without proper hydration and nutrition is truly absurd. Reminds me of another moderator's metaphor of the human body and cars: cars can be tested and raced and pushed, but need fuel and coolants to function. Same with people--it does not help to push an athlete or any individual without proper fuel. This coach was at the very least negligent, and sounds like he purposefully put this child in harms' way.

January 27, 2009 - 1:34pm
Expert HERWriter

I saw this on the Today show this morning. It's very sad and also very disturbing. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the coach being indicted for reckless homicide. Did he really mean to kill this boy? I'm sure that was not his intention. But 94 degree temperatures and no access to water. What's up with that?

I guess we're going to see how this plays out. It may change coaching forever. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Honestly, I think this maybe a learned behavior. I'll bet if we look back to the coaches, coach, we're going to see some similar patterns in coaching style. It's a lot like the military...they want to toughen you up. I think we've crossed the line between tough and healthy. I'll take healthy over tough any day of the week. And I certainly would prefer my child be in a healthy and safe environment, always. In my opinion, ALL the coaches were negligent. It was uncalled for and senseless for a child to die practicing football, period.

I wonder what the coaching staff is thinking right now? I wonder what the coach who's been indicted is thinking right about now? I'll bet in his wildest dreams, he never thought he might land in prison because he acted irresponsibly and was negligently.

The people who are suffering the most, the family and friends of the 15 year old boy. I can't even imagine how they must be feeling right now. My heart goes out to them.


January 26, 2009 - 2:27pm
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