Exertional heat stroke (EHS) is a medical emergency whose likelihood in sport settings is often contingent on environmental factors, team policies, coaching strategies, and broader cultural expectations. Moreover, when it occurs, it requires immediate recognition, proper management, and care to optimize chances of survival or recovery without long-term sequelae. Max Gilpin, a secondary school American football player from Louisville, Kentucky, suffered an EHS during a football practice in August 2008, an event that resulted in his death. The purpose of this article is to use interdisciplinary methods to identify key factors that contributed to this tragedy so that similar situations do not happen again. It concludes that within a culture of inclusive gender norms and care, efforts should be made to have appropriate onsite medical expertise available to develop and implement best practices for the prevention, management, and treatment of EHS, along with coaching education specific to medical emergencies in sport and physical activity (such as EHS). This will create an environment that promotes health and safety for all student athletes participating in sport at the secondary school level.
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