On Thursday, August 13, Hopkinsville High School football player Jayvon Quarles died in what can only be considered a freak accident while moving equipment.
From USA Today:
Jayvon Corey Quarles, a 17-year-old at Hopkinsville High School, was reportedly helping move a “large, heavy piece of metal football equipment,” at Hopkinsville Middle School, which serves as the high school football team’s practice facility. The equipment fell and struck Quarles in the head, killing him with blunt force trauma.
The accident occurred before practice, at some point earlier than 4 p.m. Thursday, with Quarles rushed to Jennie Stuart Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
“The equipment fell on his head,” Christian County coroner Dorris Lamb told The Leaf-Chronicle, a Gannett partner. “He was dead on arrival at Jennie Stuart Medical Center.”
Clarksville (Tenn). Fox affiliate WZTV reported that Hopkinsville police have launched an investigation into the incident, though there has been no indication thus far that there is any reason to believe an element of foul play was involved.
Hopkinsville Police say Jayvon Corey Quarles was helping move a large, heavy piece of football equipment at the Hopkinsville Middle School practice field, when it fell and hit him in the head.
Quarles was taken to Jennie Stuart Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 4:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
A tragedy no matter how you look at it.
In situations like this, particularly in light of 2009’s House Bill 383 (Warning: External PDF Link) – which was enacted to require athletics coaches to pass mandatory safety courses, it only makes sense to determine whether or not Hopkinsville High School coaches had undergone required training. Note: The Kentucky High School Athletics Association spells out (Warning: External PDF Link) training requirements a bit better than the legislation.
On August 14 we filed an open records request with Christian County Schools and Hopkinsville High School:
All certificates or confirmation (electronic or hardcopy) that football coaches, assistant coaches and anyone affiliated with football at Hopkinsville High School have received required safety training as required by HB 383 of 2009.
While the district didn’t respond within the three-day window required by state law, we’re not going to complain about receiving a response a day late. Still worth noting.
Jack Lackey of Deatherage, Myers & Lackey finally got back to us this morning and here’s what we’ve learned…
Head football coach Marc Clark and other individuals affiliated with athletics had Adult First Aid/CPR/AED training on August 26, 2014:
But did not undergo the same training until the day after we filed our request and two days after the accident:
Clark’s required KMA/KHSAA Sports Safety Course and Medical Symposium Certification expired on July 3, 2015:
More than a month prior to the death of Quarles.
And he didn’t receive updated training or a certificate until August 16, 2015, two days after we requested his records and three days after the death:
While maybe not an intentional lapse, it’s still concerning because the safety of young athletes is at stake and lives are in the hands of coaches. A lack of timely certification could also indicate there’s a pattern of ignoring safety of student athletes within that school district.
Neither the district nor its law firm have responded to requests for comment so we can only speculate at this point.
According to sources well-acquainted with athletics in Kentucky and the KHSAA, there are currently dozens of head football couches around the state. Troubling when realizing the first football matches of the season begin this Friday.
CLICK HERE to contribute to a GoFundMe account going to the family of Quarles.
We got a response from the district’s law firm:
Coach Clark completed the last of the required training on August 13, 2015 at approximately 3:30 pm, which was prior to your request and prior to the incident likely giving rise to your request.
Unfortunately, that’s not what anyone literate would call accurate, as you can see on the documents above. August 15 would be the date training was completed with the Red Cross. August 16th with KHSAA. Not on August 13. Not completed and received prior to the incident. Not prior to our inquiry.
Hugely disappointing that the school district, via its attorneys, would be spinning in such a manner after this tragedy.
For the sake of documentation — you may click here to access a 480K zip file containing the three PDF documents obtained via open records request. They’ve been manually redacted as a courtesy to remove direct email addresses and cell phone numbers.