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Sports & Rec

SDSU Athlete Discusses The Water Crisis In Flint, Michigan - His Hometown

The Summit League

The city of Flint, Michigan is struggling as its water crisis continues. Testing shows the city’s drinking water is contaminated with dangerous levels of lead. The problem has resulted in severe health issues, and in some cases death. One South Dakota student knows first hand what the city is going through.


Deondre Parks is a senior guard on the South Dakota State men’s basketball team. On the surface he looks like a normal college basketball player, but Parks is facing more than the normal stress of college. He is originally from Flint, Michigan, and his family, including his mother, still live there. Parks says he recently received some bad news on the health of his family.

"The lead poisoning has my 10-year old brother having seizures, and my three-year old brother, he can’t talk," explains Parks. "Something is happening with his brain and the lead water. So my family is going through a lot right now."

Parks says the support he gets from the community of Brookings, South Dakota State University, and his teammates and coaches is priceless. 

"Coach Nagy tries to help me get through a lot. Knowing the fact of what my family is going through. And that’s another reason why I highly appreciate him. He doesn’t have to do those things; he could be one of those coaches who just want to win – but he’s actually there for me and helps me through the situation," says Parks. "He talks to my mom, he calls her, and makes sure she’s ok and asks her how her day was. I mean, nobody in the world should have to go through not being able to have water."

Both state and federal officials are now investigating the situation in Flint. Meanwhile, thousands of residents are drinking bottled water.

You can hear the entire interview with Deondre Parks by clicking here. In the interview Parks also talks about playing for the SDSU men’s basketball team, and the support he has gotten from his teammates and coaches, and from the community of Brookings.