Written By: Claudine Polsenberg
It happened in Florida on June 29, 2017. It happened in Maryland on May 29, 2018. Zach Martin Polsenberg was 16 years old and Jordan Martin McNair was 19 years old. Both loved football and were working hard to play in the NFL. Both victims to heat stroke and fought for their lives for over a week. Unfortunately, neither of them survived. These two stories, almost exactly a year apart, are too similar and now two families endure the heartache of losing a child way too soon.
Zach’s dad and step-mother started a charity to increase the awareness of Exertional Heat Illness (EHI) and to educate parents, athletes and coaches to prevent this from happening. They work hard to spread their message and provide schools with the proper cooling equipment to prevent and treat EHI.
Jordan’s parents started a Foundation to do the same, as they do not want Jordan’s death to be in vain. They now know heat stroke is 100% survivable and will do what they can to prevent this from happening to another child.
Sadly, their stories have brought them together not only to support each other, but to work together for change. The Jordan McNair Foundation and Zach Polsenberg’s Heat Severity Charity have partnered to spread the education of sports related heat illnesses and with donations provide schools with the proper cooling equipment which includes Cold Water Immersion (CWI) tubs and Wet Bulb Globe Thermometers (WBGT). No school should be without. These are the key pieces of equipment to save a child from heat stroke.
Through speeches, presentations, social media and telling their stories, they know that they are helping save another child’s life. They have learned that education is the key, as they both had to learn the hard way about EHI. Now they want you to know so that you can protect your child.