A court case in Kentucky is testing the assertion that coaches should be held criminally liable if their players die as a result of harsh practice conditions.
David Jason Stinson, the former football coach at Louisville (Ky.) Pleasure Ridge High, faces charges of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in the wake of the August 2008 death of offensive lineman Max Gilpin.
The sophomore collapsed at the end of a series of wind sprints in oppressive heat and died three days later. His body temperature in the emergency room was reportedly 107 degrees.
The case could be a litmus test for other jurisdictions as to whether coaches are responsible for their players' well-being. Stinson has denied any wrongdoing and asserted that Gilpin was hydrated when he collapsed and likely died as a result of an unrelated condition.
Stinson faces a maximum of five years in prison on each felony charge. If convicted, it could give already overburdened and underpaid high school coaches one more reason to abandon the profession.