Albemarle (Va.) County Schools have implemented new heat safety measures for sports practices after the family of a student-athlete who suffered exertional heat illness filed a lawsuit against Monticello High School.
According to CBS 19 News, Patrick Clancy came home from soccer practice in July of 2017 and collapsed. His mother, Emily Clancy, was home at the time and knew something was wrong.
“I put him in the tub and he's getting worse,” said Clancy. “His fingers were blue...it was traveling up and he...couldn't breathe. He was trying."
Emily was able to get Patrick to the hospital, where appropriate care was administered and doctors were able to get his core temperature down. The family wasn’t initially going to file a lawsuit until Monticello athletic director, Matthew Pearman, and soccer coach at the time, Stuart Pierson, failed to take responsibility for the incident.
"I really expected them to do the right thing,” said Clancy. “I said just come out and say, we messed up. We didn't have water, and shade and trainers. And we didn't do anything that we were supposed to do but we will make sure this never happens again. They didn't do that. Instead, they blamed us and my sons for what happened to them."
The lawsuit is pending, but because Emily brought her concerns to the county, the Health Advisory Board has set new mandatory guidelines. Athletic trainers are now required to be at all summer practices, a rule that started this summer.
"Our trainer is on-site whenever we have a summer practice to monitor weather conditions throughout their practice from the start,” said Steve Heon, athletic director of Western Albemarle High School. "Our coaches have to take an online course each year. Our coaches aren't allowed to be out coaching unless they handle their educational responsibilities."
Patrick has left Monticello High School and has not played soccer on a team since his heat illness. Emily said he has never fully recovered.