Players describe tough practice in Stinson trial - News, Weather & Sports

Players describe tough practice in Stinson trial

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Susan Fife Susan Fife
David Englert David Englert

By Connie Leonard - bio | email
Posted By Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - More testimony came Wednesday from teammates of Max Gilpin in the trial of former Pleasure Ridge Park football coach Jason Stinson. Gilpin, a PRP sophomore, collapsed on the football practice field last summer and died three days later from heat-related complications. Stinson is charged with reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in Gilpin's death.

"It was a normal practice, until we started running," a young player testifying told the jury Wednesday. He said that were running more grueling gasser drills than they' had ever run before was the running theme for prosecution witnesses. 

Sitting across from their coach, Jason Stinson's former players went back over the August 20, 2008 practice when Max Gilpin collapsed. 

"It was hard for me to catch a breath," said a 17-year-old, 6'1', 270 pound defensive lineman. He told jurors he and another teammate were vomiting and weren't allowed water. 

Prosecutor: "Were you allowed to get water when you ran?

Player: "No sir." 

Prosecutor: "Did coach ever say anything to you when you told him you were having problems?"

Player: "Yes sir." 

Prosecutor: "Did he call you something?

Player: "Yes sir."

Prosecutor: "What did he call you?"

Player: "He called me a coward." 

On cross examination, the player told the jury Stinson often used the word "coward" as motivation for the team. 

Susan Fife is a PRP parent who was running the concession stand for the neighboring girls soccer game. Fife said she watched several football players try to get water. "Six or eight boys that came between our table and the soccer field were headed over to the water fountain and the coach came after them yelling and said they were a bunch of babies that never win at anything," Fife told the jury. 

The student team trainer testified when he saw player Antonio Calloway having trouble breathing, he had to buy a bottle of water for him at the concession stand because there wasn't any on the field he could bring him. Many times over, players testified Stinson said they would run until somebody quit the team. At the August 20, 2008 practice, 18-year-old David Englert was that "somebody." Englert testified he told Stinson he was quitting. When asked by the prosecutor asked what Stinson replied, Englert told the jury, "Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner." 

A 16-year-old defensive end said he tried to help Max Gilpin when he collapsed. "He was dead weight," the teen said of Gilpin's limp body. "His feet drug and coach told us to put him down on the field." 

The prosecution got a surprise after calling 19-year-old David Thompson to the stand. Thompson, a senior on Stinson's team, contradicted another teammate over who attempted to carry Gilpin off the field and which coach was intervening. In other testimony, a 15-year-old player said he was less than 123 pounds last season and was taking a higher dose of the ADHD drug Adderall than Gilpin was. He testified he never had any problems from the drug.

The trial will resume Thursday morning.

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