The ultimate price

Ga. coaches charged with murder in death of player


Photo by Braylen Garren

Two Georgia coaches have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a 16-year-old who died after practice in the heat.

Story by Kailyn Williams, Staff Writer

In Clayton County, Georgia, on Aug. 13, 2019, tragedy struck. During a basketball workout in 97-degree heat, 16-year-old Imani Bell “leaned into a handrail and fell limp” due to a heart attack caused by extreme heat. 

Two years later, her coaches, LaRosa Asekere and Dwight Palmer, are being charged with murder, cruelty to children, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. 

Seeking justice for the death of his child is all that Eric Bell, Imani’s father, is trying to do.

From a coach’s standpoint, they want their players to go full out to reach their highest potential–to a certain extent. There is a line between pushing athletes and overexerting them, and this line was crossed in the case of Imani Bell. 

A full workout in 97-degree heat is overstepping the boundary; however, these coaches weren’t the first to overstep. 

There have been multiple cases, prior to Imani’s, where heat has been the silent killer. Heat illness is among one of the leading causes of death in high school athletes. This just fuels the argument for Bell. Sending a group of athletes into such intense heat in August does not end well.

Having the knowledge of the prior deaths should have been a red flag for Asekere and Palmer. Their poor judgment cost a young girl with an abundance of talent her future. 

The death of Imani Bell should cost them more than just having to transfer schools. An example needs to be set for athletic programs around the nation so that no one else dies the way that Imani did.