Girls' Basketball Player Dies After Outdoor Practice

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As the calendar turns to August, many high schools around the country begin practices and conditioning workouts with their sports teams wary of how the heat will impact their student-athletes. Typically, football takes center stage, but tragedy can strike any sport, as evidenced this week in Georgia, where a high school basketball player has died after an outdoor practice in extreme heat.

WSB-TV in Atlanta reports that 16-year-old Imani Bell, a girls’ basketball player at Elite Scholars Academy in Jonesboro, Ga., was running outdoors on Tuesday evening when she collapsed. Tuesday had reportedly tied a record for the hottest day on that date in history. 

Paramedics found Bell unresponsive and without a pulse inside the school at around 6 p.m. She reportedly regained a pulse briefly, but was pronounced dead at Southern Regional Medical Center.

“This could have been prevented and it gives us cause for concern that the basketball team would be doing outdoor conditioning on the track on the hottest day of the year,” Justin Miller, a family member, told Fox 5 Atlanta. “We feel like coaches and athletic directors should be cognizant of how hot it is. These are students, not world-class athletes.”

Fox 5 Atlanta reports that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will conduct an investigation into the circumstances leading to Bell’s death. 

The district has made grief counselors available to the school community in the wake of the incident.

We discussed the best practices for preventing heat-related illness in student-athletes on the first episode of The Athletic Business Podcast. Listen below:

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