An NAACP chapter is calling for two Thomasville City School officials to resign after an On Your Side report uncovered potential problems with a medical procedure given to student athletes.
Lucinda Brown, president of Thomas County's NAACP chapter, said she was shocked to see photos of high school football players at Thomasville High School hooked up to medical intravenous (IV) drips in a hallway and on a bus.
Independent medical professionals tell First Coast News the locations shown in the photo aren't sterile enough for an IV procedure and carry a risk of infection. First Coast News has tried multiple times to contact the medical staff responsible for administering the IVs. On Monday, district superintendent Laine Reichert said the school has no access to records relating to who is handling the IVs for the athletic department.
Brown called the superintendent's response unacceptable.
"I was shocked. There's no way a superintendent of a school should not know who is injecting our children," Brown said. "I'm not saying [the IV therapy] should not have been done, I'm upset about them doing it in the conditions they were doing it in, if it was needed. I thought it would have been needed just in emergencies and not just a thing to do."
Reichert said the IV therapy given to 13 to 15 players before they take the field keeps them from cramping during a game. She provided a copy of the permission slip form parents signed consenting to the treatment.
At a town hall meeting Tuesday evening, Thomasville City school board chairman Christopher Rodd announced the IV therapy highlighted in the First Coast News report will be addressed at a December 4 athletic committee meeting.
“We are aware of the discussion going on,” Rodd told town hall attendees. “We will have the athletic director [Christopher Merritt] and the coaches [at the December 4th meeting] along with all of the documentation that covers that discussion so we can provide everyone accurate information.”
“We are looking into the [IV issue] and it is on our agenda,” Rodd said.
Rodd declined to comment for this story.
Previously, Reichert told First Coast News multiple school district use IV fluids before games. First Coast News checked with multiple school district around Georgia that Thomasville plays and northeast Florida, but no schools use it on a routine basis.
Brown has demanded the resignation of Reichert and head football coach Zach Grage for what she calls a lack of transparency about the IV therapy program.
"If we can't believe that they will take care of our kids the way they are supposed to, they need to resign," Brown said.
Reichert confirmed the IVs have been used on the Thomasville High athletes for the last two years.
In a July interview with Tallahassee’s ABC affiliate WTXL, Grage discussed new methods Thomasville High was using to keep players hydrated, however IVs were not included.