According to Jones Ramsey (Sports Information Director) Coach Royal was devastated by Reggie’s death and “collapses and cries” in the huge arms of Defensive Line Coach Charley Shria.
Bill Little said about Reggie " In a very real sense, his death meant that thousands and thousands have lived. Out of tragedy, he gave us all a gift. And that's why he's a legend".
Juan Conde says "I was already working as assistant equipment manager when Reggie passed away from heat exhaustion. I also recall Frank Medina tending him vigorously and the arrival of the ambulance. This incident took place at the old practice field across the creek and across from memorial stadium where practices were held. Coach Royal took Reggie’s death very hard."
The death of Reggie and Mike was a wake up call for all who are associated with sports. Doctors, led by the American Medical Association, began immediate research on the effects of heat on the human body. Within a year, Universities mandated more liquids be served to athletes during work-outs and games.
At the high school changes were slower. Some states were proactive and moved quickly to change workout routines. State athletic associations and individual school districts mandated limited practices during certain times of day, and practice days without full pads so that athletes could acclimate to the weather. Other states struggled to make changes to protect athletes. As of 2018 one state representative is still struggling to pass a bill that would require head coaches and assistant coaches of interscholastic or intramural sports to complete an education course on heat-related medical issues that could arise from a student athlete's training. In 2009 a Kentucky coach faced reckless homicide and wanton-endangerment charges in connection with 15-year-old heat related death. It was alleged that his players were in full gear, and several of them were denied water and told to keep running wind sprints -- called "gassers" -- in 94 degree heat, even after vomiting. It was learned that the boy who died was taking amphetamine Adderall for an attention deficit disorder which affects the body's ability to thermal regulate. The coach was acquitted by a jury in two hours, but yet another lesson was learned at the expense of a young boy. In 2011 two football players and one coach died after practise in scorching temperatures.
Education and hydration are the answer to ZERO deaths from heat stroke.
Stopping heat stroke deaths takes a combination of adequate hydration and coaches that understand the causes and symptoms of heat stroke.
The 1960's was the beginning of the educational process that still continues. The learning curve to eliminate heat stroke is still costing lives of many boys. In 1962 we learned that the new plastic shoulder pads did not allow air ventilation and was the primary suspect in the deaths of Mike and Reggie. In 2009 we learned that a prescription amphetamines combined with a strenuous workout could precipitate a death. In the decade of the 2000's the death rate due to heat stroke rose for the first time in 40 years. We learned that one of the reasons is due to the enormous size of the high school athletes. Doctors state that their weight is more fat than muscle and even if this athlete is hydrated fat makes it harder for the body to dissipate heat and could cause heat stroke. Quite frankly if Joe Good had played ball in 2018 instead of 1961 he may still have died.
1960’s- 42 deaths 1970’s – 31 deaths 1980’s – 14 deaths 1990’s – 14 deaths 2000’s - 29 deaths
Research At the college level based on an ANNUAL SURVEY OF FOOTBALL INJURY RESEARCH from 1931 - 2014 by Kristen L. Kucera, MSPH, PhD, ATC Director, National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the worst decades for heat stroke were in the 60’s and 70’s.
From my perspective 56 years after Reggie's death and Bill Littles positive comment that Reggies "death meant that thousands and thousands have lived" . "Out of tragedy, he gave us all a gift". "And that's why he's a legend" is still true but somewhat tainted by the lessons still not learned after 56 years. From my perspective it is inexcusable for one athlete to die from heat stroke in 2018. Shame on any system that knows the causes of heat stroke, but refuses to follow protocol to prevent it. Until the system becomes more disciplined and educated more preventable deaths of young boys will continue and their families will suffer the consequences.
Billy Dale- Proud member of the 1967 football recruiting class.
Mark Walters was a trainer for Augie Garrido:
I really enjoyed your article, and as we approach the summer months, the importance of keeping well hydrated has not always been in the forethought of our coaches in years past. The mid-60s was in an interesting time in sports science, where you had your traditional old school coaches like Royal, Bear Bryant, and Woody Hayes who kept with the tried and true coaching philosophy of no pain, no gain; going against advances in sports-science. The coaching models of the time often butted heads with sport-scientists who wanted to introduce medical based training models with the old guard but were often rebutted.
Where hydration is concerned, one of the forefathers is Robert Cade, a San Antonio native, and UT grad and medical school grad. Cade went on to become a professor at the University of Florida, and after doing research about dehydration with members of the Florida football team, he became a founding inventor of a product called Gatorade.
UT does a great deal of research in the field of sports-science. Where Gatorade is a high carbohydrate drink, Dr. Lisa Ferguson-Stegall at UT recently published a paper on a low-carb beverage with added protein that increases endurance times in cyclists. Dr. John Ivy, one of the nations top researchers has pioneered our understanding of muscle metabolism and how nutritional supplementation can improve exercise performance, recovery and training adaptation. Where at one time there may have been a divisive line between coaches and those outside the direct control of the program, today there is a co-joined relationship that feeds off one another to make sure that the best product is put on the field every Saturday in the fall.