A year after his death, Angela Roberts still looks at pictures of her son Isaiah Laurencin everyday.
"He always made me laugh, so I miss that, I miss that from him," she said. "He would come and hug me, and say, ‘Mom you know I love you.'"
The 16-year-old offensive lineman also loved football.
"Loved football, passion for football. He told me ever since middle school, when I get to high school, I want to play football," Roberts said.
He was so passionate that he practiced hard – sometimes too hard. In 2010, he suffered from heat exhaustion and ended up in the hospital. It was a wakeup call for his mom and coaches.
"I always made sure, you know, always stay hydrated and always make sure he had his water, make sure he had Gatorade from my home," she said. "You know, he had Gatorade and water. You know, the thought would always cross my mind."
The following year, the coaches were happy with his progress.
"I trusted that they would look out for him, not knowing that when he would go to practice he wouldn't come back home," she said.
However, on July 28, 2011, Isaiah collapsed while doing a two-a-day practice in the afternoon.
He didn't survive. The Broward County Medical Examiner's Office determined that heat was a contributing factor to his death. His mother says it could've been prevented, and she's now demanding answers.
"That's exactly what I wonder, how long, how often were the water breaks? How often were they letting them get water? Because my son had water, he had Gatorade," she said. "So how often were they letting him drink water? How often were they letting him take breaks? So that's my question."
Those questions will be posed in a lawsuit she plans to file against the Broward County School District.
Her attorney, Ben Crump, also represented DJ Searcy, another teen who suffered a heat-related death during a football camp in Lake City back in August 2011.
It's one of many fatal cases that USF Health Professor Eric Coris is studying, with the help of the so-called heat pill, which helps them track players during practice.
"As we started monitoring core temperatures of young athlete, especially lineman, offensive lineman and defensive lineman, for their core temperature to be 102, 103, which is right on the margin of heat stroke," Coris said.
Coris said he's alarmed by the fact that the number of heat-related deaths in players has tripled over the past 15 years. He said it's time for schools to have athletic trainers or medical personnel on staff to help the players.
"Athletes really want to play, they want to succeed, they don't want to let their teammates down, and that's why it often requires somebody from the outside protecting them from themselves," he explained.
Isaiah's mother says no one was looking out for her son despite everything he did to support his team.
"Zay was a good friend, he was a giver, an encourager," his mother said.
That team graduated this year without one of their most beloved players. Meanwhile, Isaiah's mother wonders how many more sons will suffer the same fate before something is done.
"It's been kind of difficult, we're coping, but he's going to always be missed. There's a big void," she said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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