Second annual Cleats vs Heat football game hosted by 2017 heatstroke victim family

Published: May 28, 2022 4:55 PM EDT

Laurie Giordano lost her son, Zach Martin, to heatstroke in 2017, and now shows families how to protect players at the second annual Cleats versus Heat football game. The game was set for Naples High School to face off with Cypress Lake High School.

Giordano said, “exertional heat stroke is 100% survivable as long as you get them in a cold tub within the first 15 minutes. And that’s something that a lot of people don’t know.”

Zach Martin’s family hosts the event. Martin was a student-athlete at Riverdale Highschool and died of heatstroke after collapsing at football practice.

Giordano said, “We have been notified of instances where coaches have put their kids in cold tubs. And those are the stories we want to hear. We want to hear, ‘hey, we put him in a cold tub, he went home, he’s fine’. That’s what we want to hear every single time.”

Following Martin’s death, the Zachary Martin Act was passed, which protects student-athletes during the hottest months by requiring schools to have things like defibrillators and immersion tubs.

Giordano said, “you know, with the tragedies that happened this week, we know all too well what it’s like to go home and know that your kids aren’t coming home. We want to prevent that in the way that we know-how. And that is preventing something like exertional heatstroke from taking any more kids.”

Giordano told us she plans on continuing this tradition in the years to come. She said the event will take place at different school each year throughout the district to reach as many kids and families as possible.