HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - One year ago, 14-year-old Hezekiah Walters died after participating in conditioning drills with his high school football team.
What You Need To Know
- Hezekiah Walters died last year after football conditioning drills
- His family, along with school officials, discuss how to protect students
- PREVIOUS: Church services remembers Hezekiah Walters
- BELOW: Read all of the suggested guidelines
On the anniversary of the boy's death, his family joined Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent, Addison Davis and school board members to mark the day with an announcement of how other students will be protected.
The Hezekiah Walters Sports Medicine Educational Plan on Hydration Heat and Illness ensures all school-sponsored sports and extracurricular activities have established health and safety procedures. It ensures student athletes are aware of the dangers of heat-related illnesses.
Some guidelines include: regular water breaks, designated cool areas and length of practice and access to cold immersion tubs.
The Walters family presented Superintendent Davis with a plaque covered with school pictures of Hezekiah.
"Thank you from our heart from our family for helping him become and because of you with this referendum, Hezekiah is still becoming,” said the teen's mother, Phyllis Thompson-Walters.
"This young man’s legacy will live on, this young man’s legacy will live through our training and we will work to protect the tens of thousands of athletes that we serve everyday in hope for a brighter future,” said Davis.
Other safety protocols include:
- All football staff will be certified in Heads Up Football training by the 2020-2021 school year
- All high schools have been provided at least one cold immersion tub
- Continued commitment to having certified athletic trainers on all high school campuses
- Required training through the Positive Coaching Alliance continues, instilling positive culture on and off the field
- Due to COVID-19, conditioning and practices will be limited to groups of 20
"We put some measures in place and we put some protocols in place now a lot of us got some hard work to do and we been working hard it’s just gonna frame us to work even harder,” said Thompson-Walters.