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Mother who lost son to heat stroke warns parents, athletes in light of emergency heat advisory

She lost her son, Max Gilpin, during a football practice 11 years ago and says early education is key.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Eleven years ago, Michele Crockett lost her 15-year-old son, Max Gilpin, to a heat stroke during football practice.

"It can happen to you. Eleven years ago, I never thought I would be put in the situation I was put in. He suffered for three days in the hospital and it was tough to watch," she says.

RELATED: Mayor and other city officials warn residents to plan for excessive heat

As a mother of three, she had attended numerous sporting events and practice, never understanding the threat heat can truly be.

"When I was called over to the field that day, I didn't realize how serious it was," Michele said.

And now as the sun is beaming over Louisville, with severe, and possibly deadly heat on the way, she's warning other parents to watch out for their young athletes.

"Eleven years ago when this happened to Max, we were not all familiar with the extreme danger of it. You constantly should be drinking your water, and water, water, water, ya know. That's the best thing. It's not going to happen to another family as long as I'm alive and can help it," Michele said.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association even has rules in place.

Credit: Kentucky High School Athletic Association

If the heat index is anywhere from 100 to 104 degrees, practices, where equipment is mandatory, must be suspended immediately. If the gear isn't required, postponing practice is highly recommended. If the heat index is above 104 degrees, all outdoor practices must stop.

When it comes to high school athletics, there is a lot of pressure of being pulled from the game if you "can't handle it". Something Michele says needs to change.

"When you get to heat exhaustion it can be too late sometimes," Michele said.

Contact reporter Jessie Cohen at JCohen@whas11.com and follow her on TwitterFacebook or Instagram 

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