Teen Suffers Heat Exhaustion In Non-Air Conditioned Community Gym

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 01:47:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Orlando Cockrill collapsed from heat exhaustion in the Shelby Park Community Center Wednesday because there was no air conditioning in the gym.

The high temperature in Nashville was 93 degrees, Wednesday.

Cockrill's mother Angela Wallace said the temperature in the gym was measured at 105 degrees.

Wallace has been taking action before the same thing or worse happens to anyone else's child.

Cockrill has come to the Shelby Park Community Center for years in the summer and after school.

On Wednesday he collapsed after playing basketball in the gym that has no air conditioning.

Metro Parks officials said their six oldest community centers around the city don't have air conditioning in the gym and there isn't enough money in the budget to fix all of the centers.

Wallace has now been petitioning Metro Council and raising money to fix the problem.

She said they've provided for her children for free over the years, and it's time to give back.

"To me that's unacceptable," she said. "Something worse could have happened or another kid they might not do as well as (my son) did."

Cockrill said the gym is always hot, and it didn't feel any different on Wednesday. He said his symptoms came on fast.

"My upper body started tingling," he said. "My vision was just gone. I couldn't see. Somehow I hit my eye on the side of the wall."

Tommy Lynch, the director of the Metro Parks Department, said the city only allotted enough money to replace two of the six air conditioning units.

Lynch said those will be going in the two facilities that get used the most - E.S. Rose and Napier.

"Our recreation staff are being instructed to be more attentive," Lynch said by phone. "But at the same time with this type of weather these things happen."

Cockrill said the water from the water fountains at Shelby Community Center has been too warm to drink from, so it's easy to get dehydrated there.

Wallace has both a petition urging Metro Council to fund air conditioners at all six locations and a GoFundMe account to raise money to donate to Metro Parks to do it anyway.