Mother of fallen athlete pushes for more than ‘recommendations’ on FHSAA agenda

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Mother of fallen athlete pushes for more than ‘recommendations’ on FHSAA agenda. WINK News

The mother of a 16-year-old boy who died from a heat stoke during football practice is pushing for more than just “recommendations” on the Florida High School Athletic Association’s agenda.

Riverdale High School student Zachary Polsenberg was running drills when he suddenly collapsed on the field in June 2017. The teen suffered from internal injuries and fell into a coma after his core temperature was at 107 degrees for more than half an hour.

Zachary Polsenberg. Photo via Kathleen Johnson

Zachary’s mother, Laurie Giordano, has since been working to keep other children safe while playing sports out in the sun — especially during the summer.

Giordano wants to take current heat-related rules further by extending the Florida High School Athletic Association’s policies year-round and requiring heat prevention equipment near all fields.

Giordano said she is pushing for, “The mandatory use of a wet bulb globe thermometer which would measure the heat stress on their particular practice field,” and “The use of cold water immersion tubs.”

While these items could’ve saved Zachary’s life, they’re now listed as recommendations on the upcoming agenda — not policies.

“I am disheartened, disappointed and frankly and honestly I feel like they’re telling me that Zach’s death is not important to them,” Giordano said. “The horror of all this is there’s very basic first aid steps that are available, but they’re not required though.”

But Giordano said she will continue to fight to prevent another family’s nightmare.

Some of the association’s rules already in place include: taking breaks for water and rest, and cooling off in shaded areas with helmets off.

Recommendations offered from the Florida High School Athletic Association.

WINK News reached out to the association about the family’s concerns, but has yet to hear back.

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