Charity donates cooling technology shoulder pads to Lee High School

Lee High School’s football team has new cooling technology in their shoulder pads.

The pads were made possible by a local charity honoring a late Florida high school football player named Zachary Polsenberg. He died from heat stroke in 2017.

When connected to the pads, a compressor pumps chilled air to the back and front of the pads, cooling the players’ chests and backs.

The Zachary Polsenberg Heat Severity Charity collected public donations, and a large donation from Degree Men, to secure funding.

The technology was installed by My Cool Air. Now every player at Lee High School has access to the cooling system when playing football.

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“It was funny just seeing the kids run to the bench to put it in,” said Lee High School head football coach OJ Small.

James Polsenberg lost his son Zachary in summer 2017 to heat stroke during high school football practice in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Polsenberg and his wife Claudine, a Palm Coast couple, decided to launch the charity following the death of their son.

“It’s very exciting that we’re going to be able do this and help keep student athletes safe,” said Claudine Polsenberg. “My stepson passed away from heat stroke last year.”

Lee players tell Action News Jax they’re less likely to suffer heat stroke or heat exhaustion due to the cooling technology in their new shoulder pads.

Action News Jax reported in late August when DCPS decided to move some high school football games to Saturday mornings.

The decision followed the shooting on the Raines High School campus after their game with Lee.

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As a result, players and coaches say heat has become a bigger issue for athletes with 10 a.m. kickoffs.

“I’m happy because I really be dying out there,” said Lee football player Ralph Mincey. “Giving my all, like my coach tells me.”

Zachary Polsenberg died of heat stroke during football practice in Ft. Myers. The Palm Coast couple launched the Zachary Polsenberg Heat Severity Charity soon after.

“The one thing we do not want is other parents to go through the heart ache that we’ve been through,” Zachary Polsenberg's family said.

The charity is also asking FHSAA and state legislators for changes mandating cold water tubs at all practices and games. My Cool Air, a local company in Jacksonville, designed the technology.

“Your chest, your heart, that’s your motor,” said Zach Williams, a representative of My Cool Air. “So as long as you cool down the motor, you’re going to cool down the body.”

There’s going to be a presentation to the team, school and audience in honor of Zachary Polsenberg on Saturday at halftime.