High School Athlete Dies During Practice- Her Coaches Are Charged With Murder

A Georgia high school basketball player died after collapsing while practicing outdoors in the sweltering heat.

The family of the high school student has reached a $10 million settlement with the Clayton County School District after their daughter collapsed during basketball practice and later died.

The temperature during the practice was between 96 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit, and the heat index put the temperature at between 101 and 106. Despite a heat advisory warning that was issued in the area, the coaches continued to host an outdoor drill practice. The players were required to run up and down the steps of the football stadium in the middle of the dangerous heat.

Imani Bell collapsed on the football stadium steps on Aug. 13, 2019, the day of her women’s basketball conditioning practice. She suffered from a heat stroke during her physical activity outdoors. Imani Bell’s autopsy report indicated that she died of a heart attack brought on by physical exertion in a high-heat environment.

The two coaches that were running the deadly practice now face criminal charges. Larosa Walker-Asekere and Dwight Palmer were charged with second-degree murder, child cruelty in the second degree, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless conduct after the death of Bell.

Imani’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in February 2021. The settlement amount sends a message to other school districts that children should not die from heat exhaustion.

The Bell family has settled a civil lawsuit against Elite Scholars Academy, and the gym will be renamed in Imani’s honor. They also want to educate coaches about heat exhaustion and provide cold tubs for active student athletes to prevent this from happening again.

The family of Imani Bell has started the Keep Imani Foundation, which will offer scholarships to students and help schools get cold tubs to help prevent heat stroke deaths.