ATLANTA — A Georgia mother spoke briefly through tears on Monday before leaving a hearing before a special state House committee named for her son, almost three years after his death on a youth football practice field.
Johnny Tolbert was 12 years old when he collapsed on a South Fulton field in 2016 during practice on a mid-90s afternoon. He died days later of heatstroke.
Earlier this year the Georgia House created the Johnny Tolbert III House Study Committee on Heat-Related Injuries, Cardiac Injuries, and other Sports-Related Injuries for the current legislative term.
On Monday Tolbert’s mother Michelle Wright was set to testify before the committee. When she approached the podium she said, "I'm sorry I can't speak today."
"Being here, I'm just reliving this whole thing again and it's really difficult," Wright said.
The purpose of the committee is to “study injuries related to sports and recreational activities to protect both youth and high school athletes from serious or even catastrophic injuries or illnesses.”
The bill passed to create the committee said that “Georgia has had heat-related football deaths to both youth and high school athletes” in recent years.
It also cited the death of Roddrick “Rod” Williams, a Burke County High School football player who died after football practice in Waynesboro in 2015.