Coach acquitted in player's heat-related death promoting heat-stroke technology

Max Gilpin (Source:
Max Gilpin (Source:
Jason Stinson
Jason Stinson

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A high school coach acquitted in the heat-related death of a player hopes new technology can spare other families any pain. Jason Stinson is trying to promote technology used to identify people who are more susceptible to heat stroke.

Stinson, now an assistant basketball coach at Pleasure Ridge Park, said he continues to pray for the family of Max Gilpin, who died in 2008 after suffering heat stroke during football practice. Stinson, who was the head football coach at the time, was acquitted of the criminal charges he faced in Max's death. Now Stinson is hoping to keep athletes safe by using new technology called MET-testing, a stress test used to identify which athletes are more susceptible to heatstroke.

"Heat stroke is not 100% preventable," said Stinson. "There's going to be another young man that's gonna go out. He's gonna go practice, he's gonna play, and he's gonna have a heat stroke. Heat stroke is a medical condition. It is not a physical condition, it's a medical condition."

On the evening of August 20, 2008, 15-year-old Max collapsed during football practice at PRP. He died three days later. Doctors said his death was heat-related.

"What we've learned over the last few years, there's a lot of things that are outside of a coach's control that have added to a terrible tragedy. We want to make sure we prevent that again," Stinson said.

Now, Stinson is working to help make sure someone else doesn't lose their child to heat stroke.

"What it does, is, it allows us to put kids into categories and we can know that even when we saw these two kids, they may look similar and run similar, there's a difference," Stinson said. "We want to make sure they're safe in the process."

Stinson hopes JCPS will use the equipment in its schools for athletes.

"Our goal is to have the facility set up and to have a facility set up, bring the kids in and test them and then once they're tested, it gives us a single point to start at and say 'Hey coach, here's what we found out,"' said Stinson.

The equipment for MET-testing could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000.

JCPS sent WAVE 3 a statement on behalf of the district's athletic director, Jerry Wyman:

"Mr. Dougherty sent our director of Athletics and Activities information, Jerry Wyman, about the product. Mr. Wyman informs me that he hasn't had a chance to look at the information yet. However, Mr. Wyman says that before he would consider any product, he would want to see empirical evidence of its effectiveness as well as endorsements from athletic and medical organizations. JCPS is always looking for ways to provide a safe environment in which students can play and learn and welcomes input for that effort."

WAVE 3 contacted the lawyers representing the parents of Max Gilpin, but we did not hear back from them before our deadline.

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