Family of Riverdale High football player who died of heatstroke reaches settlement with school district

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Zachary Tyler Martin-Polsenberg
Zachary Tyler Martin-Polsenberg (Credit: WINK News)

The family of a Lee County high school football player who died of heatstroke during practice has received some closure.

Lawyers for Zachary Tyler Martin-Polsenberg’s family announced Wednesday that the family has settled a $950,000 lawsuit with the school district, which unanimously approved the settlement.

Zachary was 16 when he died in July of 2017, days after he collapsed at practice with the Riverdale High School football team.

“Standing there and seeing my son in that condition and then the 10 days that followed that day, you know, struggling for survival,” said his mom, Laurie Giordano.

Zachary’s mom, Laurie Giordano, said the settlement brings closure, but there’s plenty of work ahead, and the settlement the family received will help.

“To the moms and dads I have connected with who have lost their child to heatstroke, you give me the strength to continue to fight and these are our laws. I am fighting for your kids and that fight will not stop. I look forward to bringing about national change as well. We did it in Florida and we will do it in every state.”

The change Giordano refers to is the Zachary Martin Act, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in June to protect Florida’s prep football players during the hottest months, when practices are usually held. The law requires defibrillators and immersion tubs to be at every practice, game, and workout. Those items could have saved Zach’s life, had they been available on the field the day he collapsed.

A spring football game will also be held in Zach’s honor. Proceeds will go to the Zach Martin Foundation.

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