crimesider

Football Coach on Hot Seat Over Player's Overheating Death

(AP Photo)
Photo: Max Gilpin during his 15th birthday party, in July, 2008, in Louisville, Ky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CBS/AP) It was a hot day for football practice in Kentucky – everyone agrees on that. But what happened between the lines in the 94-degree heat has a coach on trial for a 15-year-old player's death.

High school sophomore offensive lineman Max Gilpin died last August, three days after collapsing during practice in the scorching heat. The former coach, Jason David Stinson, is on trial for reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in connection with Gilpin's death.

Prosecutors say Gilpin was denied adequate water.

Four current and former high school football players testified Wednesday that they ran hard the day their Pleasure Ridge High School teammate collapsed.

All four, though, said Stinson didn't deny anyone water on Aug. 20, 2008, the day Gilpin went down at the end of practice.

Defensive lineman Christian Vincent, now a 17-year-old senior at the school, said he, along with Gilpin and other linemen, missed the last water break before Stinson ordered players to start running gassers — sideline to sideline sprints — because they were receiving extra instruction from four position coaches.

"Those four coaches were aware you were missing water break, correct?" defense attorney Alex Dathorne asked.

"Yes, sir," Vincent answered.

Vincent said no one told Stinson the linemen were missing a water break.

The players all testified that Stinson allowed players feeling ill to stop running and leave the field. The players also said Stinson yelled that the running would continue until someone quit the team.

David Englert, who was a senior wide receiver in 2008, did quit, along with another teammate to end the running and practice. Englert, who returned to the team a couple of weeks later only to quit again, said he left because Stinson was yelling.

"He just goes off on me and I ended up quitting," Englert said.

(AP Photo)
Photo: Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park football coach David Jason Stinson seen Sept. 26, 2008 during the team's first game in Louisville, Ky. after player Max Gilpin's death.

Jurors also heard testimony from a parent watching a nearby soccer game. The parent said Stinson yelled at the players, but appeared to be excusing players who were ill.

Susan Fife, whose daughter was playing soccer on a field adjacent to the football field, said she saw and heard players becoming ill but couldn't see the whole practice.

Fife said she saw coaches bring Gilpin to a water station on the field and douse him.

"He did not appear responsive to me," Fife said.

Prosecutors said Stinson ran a brutal practice the day Gilpin collapsed. Stinson's defense said the practice wasn't unusually hard.

  • Edecio Martinez

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