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Articles by Nate Rosenfield

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This story was co-published with the Tampa Bay Times and produced in partnership with the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Laurie Giordano stood before a committee of Florida lawmakers in 2020, her hands trembling. She was there to tell the story of her son Zachary Martin, a 16-year-old football player who had died from heat stroke three years earlier.

“No mom should ever drop their kid off at football practice and then never hear their voice again,” she said, pleading for the passage of a bill that would provide heat-illness protections for high school athletes in Florida. 

“Exertional heat stroke is 100 percent preventable and survivable, if we are prepared,” Giordano told the lawmakers. If her son were alive today, she said, he would be fighting for the bill’s protections, like rest and water breaks, which could have saved his life.

Laurie Giordano, left, and her son Zachary Martin pose for a photo i... Read more

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