Hillsborough County makes changes after death of 14-year-old at football practice

Hillsborough County

TAMPA (WFLA) – The Hillsborough County School system is making changes after the death of 14-year-old Hezekiah Walters after a football practice at Middleton High School.

School Superintendent Jeff Eakins says he met the Walters at an awards event.

“Hezekiah Walters was a bright young man. He was a good student,” said Eakins.

An attorney for Walter’s family says he had joined other football players at the school for an afternoon off-season conditioning. An attorney for the family notified the district of a possible lawsuit.

“On the first day, his father made it known to the coaching staff that Hezekiah had never participated in rigorous physical training and would need appropriate instruction, supervision, and guidance while being gradually conditioned into team activities that only very experienced and prepared athletes are acclimatized to endure. Our preliminary investigation reveals Hezekiah was doing strenuous conditioning drills with other lineman outside in near 90-degree temperatures that started shortly after 3:00 pm. The heat index was extremely high warranting special considerations and diligent watching by trained adult supervisors. We understand no certified athletic trainer was present. After running sprints and other drills,” said attorney David Dickey in a letter to the school district.

In a morning news conference, Jeff Eakins announced he has removed an assistant principal and the head football coach from the school.

“The head coach was not there the day of the incident. However, he had been there on previous conditioning days. He has been transferred to another school. He will no longer be a coach. From our investigation into what happened at Middleton on June 11th, we know the athletes were given water breaks beyond what’s recommended by the Florida High School Athletic Association,” said Eakins, who would not answer questions about the incident due to the pending lawsuit.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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