St. X High School sued over runner’s heat stroke

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A recent graduate of St. Xavier High School has filed a lawsuit alleging he suffered heat stroke and was hospitalized last summer after the school did not adequately monitor cross-country runners during a practice session.

Cooper Marchal claims St. X “failed to take adequate measures and precautions to mitigate against, prevent, warn of, and identify heat-related injuries and illnesses,” according to the suit filed Thursday in Jefferson Circuit Court.

In particular, Marchal accuses the school of negligence and violating the “letter and spirit” of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s 2002 policy meant to keep athletes safe during hot weather. No coaches are named as defendants, but the lawsuit says St. X coaches were “negligent in discharging their duties of care.”

Marchal claims that between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on July 22, 2017, he had a heat stroke during a 12-mile practice run under St. X supervision at Iroquois Park and was later hospitalized and placed in a medically-induced coma.

The Louisville metro area was under a heat advisory that day and had an air temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a “calculated heat index” of 101 degrees at 10 a.m., according to the lawsuit.   

Marchal is a 2018 St. X graduate, according to the school’s website.

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages, including Marchal’s medical costs.

A St. X spokesman declined to comment Friday morning.

Marchal's attorneys, Nina Couch and Zachary Taylor, said in a statement that the lawsuit involves allegations of "carelessness on the part of St. X in having its student athletes run 12 miles during a cross-country practice on one of the hottest days of last year without taking adequate precautions. Cooper wants what happened to him to never happen to another student athlete and looks forward to his day in court."

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