This Mother Lost Her Son To Football. Now She's Taking A Stand To Keep Athletes Safe.

It's time to save our youth.

This past August, Maria Wray lost her son William Shogran Jr. when he died from overheating at a high school football practice.

According to Wray's story on, William felt dizzy while playing and passed out before he could cool down. By the time authorities and medical staff arrived, it was too late.

"We recently found out that my William passed from a heat stroke," Wray writes on her petition. "His temperature was 107 after they had already tried to cool him down. There was no telling what his temperature was before that." 

But William's death could have been prevented if the necessary precautions had been taken.

So Wray's petition seeks to ensure such precautions are made mandatory. 

Her petition urges the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Florida High School Athletic Association "to make vital measurements mandatory before and after practice for high school athletes playing in hot weather playing conditions."

In a telephone conversation, Wray told A+ there are basically zero required safety precautions taken to prevent deaths related to overheating. So little, in fact, she says that "if this were, say, a daycare center, it would be outrageous." 

According to Wray's petition, there are only safety suggestions, rather than requirements. And they're not enough.

Douglas Casa, the director of athletic training education at the University of Connecticut, told USA Today that heatstroke "is one of the only medical conditions where you want to be treated on-site." Casa told USA Today that no time can be wasted waiting for an ambulance, and that deaths are 100 percent preventable when proper protocols are followed.  

But despite the facts, athletes are still tragically dying due to causes related to overheating. 

The American Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in 2013 showing it's twice as common for high school and college football players to die during practices and games from non-traumatic causes, like heat, than from injury-related causes. 

Since starting her petition, Wray tells A+ she's received an outpouring of support from her community, and that the petition has raised more awareness.  Wray has also taken on a lot of research herself, sending out emails to continue to draw as much attention to the issue as possible.

"Let's face it, in sports, parents can be more adversaries than being a unit. You have to be a unit. Not [acting] like my kids are better than yours," Wray told A+. 

This is why she's calling parents and supporters together.

With the summer months and athletic seasons fast-approaching, Wray has some advice for parents learning about safety practices: "Especially when you have older kids... getting [them] into sports, you're desensitized, you're not aware. Ask tons of questions. Ask what's going on, what do you have set in place... A lot of people don't know to ask that because they think the people in charge know, but they don't." 

Wray says watching the petition grow has been heartwarming. Now, there are nearly 35,000 signatures on her petition.

But Wray still needs your help to accomplish her goal and honor her son. 

Click here to add your signature. 

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