Close up of orange ball above the hoop net with blue sky in the background
Two Clayton County coaches were charged this week with second degree murder and second degree cruelty to children for the 2019 death of a student at Elite Scholars Academy, along with charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. The student suffered hyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis and collapsed while participating in outdoor basketball drills as the heat index shot up to 106 degrees. Hyperthermia is heat exhaustion in which the body is no longer able to cool itself, while rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome often caused by overexertion in which the breakdown of skeletal muscle fibers leads to the leakage of a dangerous protein into the bloodstream. This protein causes damage to the kidneys. The coaches, along with the school district, are also defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the student’s family. The student’s autopsy report states that the student was one of eight members of the school’s girls’ basketball team that had gathered for conditioning training. After running up a hill, doing jumping jacks, running back down the hill, the girls were expected to run a quarter-mile lap and then up a flight of stairs. The student began visibly struggling during the exercise, with coaches offering water and encouragement. Near the top of the stairs, she collapsed. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the school district’s policy requires outdoor activities to be suspended if the heat index is 95 degrees or higher. The Georgia High School Association also has policies prohibiting athletic training in extreme heat. If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or reckless behavior of someone else, an experienced attorney from Cambre & Associates LLC can provide information about the process of obtaining compensation for the financial and psychological impacts of your loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact us for a free case evaluation.