Fulton County mom testifies before lawmakers after son's heat-related death

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State lawmakers heard emotional testimony Monday from the mother of a 12-year-old boy who died after collapsing during football practice in 2016.

Michelle Wright spoke before a study committee named in her son's honor, the Johnny Tolbert, III House Study Commission on Heat-Related, Cardiac, and Other Sports-Related Injuries.

"I can't speak today, but I would like to say thank y'all for taking the time to listen today, OK," Wright said, in tears. "Sorry, there's not much I can really say. Being here I'm reliving this whole thing all over again. It's very difficult. I'm sorry."

Tolbert suffered a heat stroke during conditioning at Welcome All Park in south Fulton County.  His parents made the difficult decision to remove him from life support two weeks later. 

"I lost him, but I don't want any other parents to lose their child.  I don't feel we should bury our kids.  I feel like our kids should bury us and I had to bury mine and I live with that every day.  It's hard every day," explained Wright.

The City of South Fulton took over the park after incorporating in 2017 and strengthened policies for both parks and recreation activities and youth athletic association partnerships. 

"Now coaches are required to have concussion training, heat and hydration training.  The head coach must have CPR training," said South Fulton City Councilwoman Helen Z. Willis. 

The goal of the study committee is to gather information and make possible recommendations for future legislation on the issue.

"We mostly want to focus on the youth leagues--the AAU teams and the traveling teams that we don't have any regulations for or unified procedures for statewide," said State Rep. William Boddie, D-East Point.

Boddie said the study committee will hold its next meeting at Welcome All Park sometime in August.