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High School Player's Death Now Being Investigated

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Louisville's school system has launched an investigation into the death of a 15-year-old high school football player who collapsed at a practice last week.

The investigation into Max Gilpin's death during the weekend will focus on what happened while players were running sprints at the end of practice, Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said.

Gilpin was a sophomore at Pleasure Ridge Park High School. He collapsed Aug. 20 in 94-degree heat and had trouble breathing. He
died Saturday night at a hospital.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Sam Weakley told The Courier-Journal a specific cause of Gilpin's death had not been established, but it appeared to be complications from heat stroke.

Along with the school system investigation, Louisville Metro Police homicide detectives will meet with prosecutors to review what is known about Gilpin's death, Lt. Col. Troy Riggs said.

Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel called and
requested the meeting, but there is no active police investigation,
Riggs said.

"We're just reviewing the case because he called and asked us," Riggs told The Associated Press.

Steve Tedder, a spokesman for Stengel, confirmed the prosecutor's call. Tedder said Stengel wanted a review of the case to see if any laws were violated.

About 2,000 people, including classmates, packed Valley View Church in Louisville for Gilpin's funeral on Wednesday.

Principal David Johnson said about 300 students, some wearing buttons with Gilpin's photo on it, brought parental permission slips to attend the funeral. About 85 of Max's teammates attended the service, The Courier-Journal reported. Some 160 students came on school buses.

Gilpin was buried in his football jersey bearing the number 61. Dozens of red and black flowers, the school's colors, surrounded his casket at the front of the church during the service.

Roberts said the investigation into Gilpin's death would include an interview with a player who was with Gilpin, but that meeting would take place in the days after the funeral.

Roberts also said four parents have contacted the school system, echoing complaints similar to those reported Wednesday in The
Courier-Journal.

Four people who were at Pleasure Ridge Park High School for a soccer game when a player collapsed during football practice last week say they heard a coach deny players' requests for water.

All four told The Courier-Journal that they were watching the soccer game on an adjacent field, but were closer to the football players and their attention was drawn by the coach's yelling.

"A couple of them asked for water and he went off on them," said Mary Frazier, whose granddaughter was playing soccer. "He said, 'Don't you ask for a water break, I will tell you when you can have a water break.' "

Rhonda Barnett, whose daughter attends PRP, said she had been watching the soccer game for about 10 minutes when she heard one of
the football players ask if he could stop to get a drink of water.

"The coach's response was to yell, 'Did I tell you that you need a drink of water? You don't tell me when you need something, you got that?
We are the professionals here, we'll tell you when you need a drink or a break or anything else,"' Barnett told the paper.

None of the witnesses knew if the players requesting water included Gilpin. None of the four people saw the entire practice and none could say if the players were given water breaks earlier in the session.

Roberts said the players received mandatory water breaks during
practice.

"The players did receive three 10-minute water breaks,"
Roberts said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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