Football game honors late SWFL football player, spreads heat illness awareness

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Zach Martin. Credit: via WINK News.

A football game was played in memory of a young player who died doing what he loved.

Zach Martin, a former Riverdale High School student-athlete, died from a heatstroke in 2017. His death sparked an ongoing conversation about how to save players from the heat.

Zach’s family attended a memorial football game at Dunbar High School Friday night, where they passed out wrist bands and other items that said, “B.E. H.I.P.,” which stands for be educated on heat illness prevention.

They also played a PSA during every water break with tips about how to treat heat illness.

Zach’s mom, Laurie Giordano, told us it’s all to make sure what happened to Zach doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“He loved the game. He loved playing. He loved everything about it, so the spring game is just the perfect opportunity for us to come out and just spread some awareness,” Giordano said. “It’s so easy to prevent and treat that it should never happen again.”

“The hot months are coming, and we want to make sure that everybody knows to have a cold-water immersion tub,” Giordano said. “That is law now. You’ve got to have your cooling zone set up.”

“There is no better way to remember someone than the fact that there’s a message that’s helpful to others and to give it to them,” Principal Carl Burnside said.

Zach’s family settled a $950,000 lawsuit with The School District of Lee County.

Zach’s mom told us the Zach Martin Memorial Foundation is running a contest for high schoolers. They can win up to $500 if they submit an essay or a video about how they’re preventing exertional heat illness.

MORE: Be Educated on Heat Illness Prevention contest

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