Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Key Florida lawmaker wants student-athletes safer in school sports

PreK-12 Innovation chairman Rep. Ralph Massullo expects legislation requiring some ‘simple things.’
Pre-season baseball practice at Wesley Chapel High School. Lawmakers want to ensure student-athletes remain safe in the Florida heat as they participate in high school sports. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Oct. 22
Updated Oct. 22

The death of a Hillsborough County teen who collapsed during summer football conditioning drills has drawn heightened attention to the health needs of Florida’s high school student-athletes.

And after a September discussion with FHSAA officials revealed that many interventions — such as coach CPR training — are not required, a key state lawmaker is focusing on possible legislation to better protect teens on the field.

“During our first meeting, we found a lot of these things are suggestions and not requirements,” said Rep. Ralph Massullo, who chairs the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee. “A lot of times that doesn’t work.”

Massullo has scheduled another workshop on the subject for his panel’s next session on Oct. 23. He said his goal is to move ahead with recommendations to make sure students are safe, and that the adults around them are prepared to respond to illnesses and injuries that occur during training and games.

“Whether that’s going to require legislation or just rules, we’re not sure yet,” he said.

The possible responses are many, he said. They include ideas such as mandating schools have immersion tubs or perhaps even buckets of ice and cooling blankets available for students who overheat. Another would have schools keep defibrillators at their outdoor stadiums.

“Being in the school doesn’t make them readily available if someone has a heart attack on a field,” Massullo observed.

A conservative Republican who generally supports smaller government, Massullo said he envisions advancing “simple things that can be easily implemented” yet can make a difference in saving lives.

He has not yet presented any bills, and the Senate so far has not approached the topic. His committee meeting will include a conversation with Dr. Kris D. Stowers, a Tallahassee sports medicine specialist.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  2. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  3. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  4. Cotee River Elementary student Darrell Jones waves his American flag during the school's Veterans Day program.
    The School Board is scheduled to vote on the calendar next week.
  5. Pasco eSchool principal JoAnne Glenn is surprised by school district officials who announced she is their 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A discussion with Pasco County Principal of the Year JoAnne Glenn.
  6. An investiture ceremony is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. inside USF’s Yuengling Center in Tampa. Currall and other USF leaders will speak about the school’s future.
  7. Experts are recommending the flu shot as outbreaks pop up in Hillsborough County schools.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. The Pasco County school district is considering an increase in substitute teacher pay to combat its low fill rate for the jobs.
    District officials say more competitive wages could help fill vacancies, which have been rising.
  9. JoAnne Glenn is cheered by her staff as deputy superintendent Ray Gadd and other district officials surprise her with the announcement that she is Pasco County's 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    JoAnne Glenn next will be entered for the statewide honor.
  10. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning briefly blocked a critic from his social media accounts. He has since restored access to the person but says he would rather they have a conversation, “like two grown adults.” [Times (2016)]
    Kurt Browning restored his online nemesis as a Twitter follower and Facebook friend after staffers told him that blocking people was a no-no.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement