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Fight continues to save Florida student athletes

To support the Florida bill, visit

A vision held close to Laurie Giordano’s heart became clearer on Monday, January 27, 2020. The mother who faced the tragic loss of her son Zach Martin in July 2017, plead to Florida Legislators, and was heard as yet another committee unanimously voted to approve a proposed bill. It would protect future student athletes from heat stroke and related illnesses.

This week, Bobby Caina Calvan of the Associated Press reported on his account of Giordano’s testimony and lawmakers’ reaction.

“As it stands, high schools aren’t required to have life-saving devices and equipment available at the sidelines to respond and prevent heat-related injuries in student athletes. That includes the absence of tubs — or even plastic swimming pools — that can be used to help quickly cool student athletes showing signs of heat stress. Many coaches and other team personnel lack training on how to recognize ‘exertional heat stroke,’ or EHS, and how to administer emergency care,” wrote AP reporter, Bobby Caina Valvan.

The AP story revealed vital insights in the challenging road to communicate just how frequently EHS occurs among Florida student athletes. According to survey results prepared by the OPPAGA, in the 2017 to 2018 school year alone — which does not include summer conditioning — 461 students from 95 schools were treated for exertional heat illness.

Until now, the health crisis of supporting a life-saving solution has fallen on deaf ears. Within the past six months, the issue has been taken much more seriously with the help of EHS-prevention advocates, attorneys and journalists alike.

The world’s leading expert on heat stroke prevention, Dr. Doug Casa contributed to the HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel feature titled “Overheated,” which aired in August 2019.

“All the evidence indicates that if someone can go into one of those tubs within 10 minutes, they’re going to survive the heat stroke,” said Doug Casa, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the Korey Stringer Institute.  

To view a clip of the HBO special, visit:

Starting now, the public is encouraged to share #StopEHS and urge Florida lawmakers to pass this bill into law. Visit: to support the bill, which would require all Florida schools to mandate the standard protocol and officially stop EHS as it occurs — an illness that is 100 percent preventable.

Laurie Giordano shares the facts of EHS and the story of losing her son, Zach

The Zach Martin Foundation was established in 2017 to provide education, awareness, and prevention equipment to athletes, coaches, and parents about Exertional Heat Illnesses. Exertional Heat Stroke is 100 percent survivable if recognized and treated promptly. The organization has donated cold water immersion tubs to 35 Florida high schools. In partnership with Florida Alliance for Sports Medicine (FASMed), the Zach Martin Foundation is developing a campaign to donate tubs to the remaining high schools in Florida in need.

To learn more, visit

To connect on social media, follow Zach Martin Memorial Foundation on Facebook and Instagram.

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