A Tampa, Florida teen fell to the ground and never woke up during football practice on June 11.
Fox13 reports 14-year-old Hezekiah Walters was about 30 minutes into conditioning drills when he collapsed around 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Middleton High School coaches immediately called 911 for medical attention.
First responders, rushed the football player to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where medical staff pronounced him dead.
According to police, Walters was lifting weights and running sprints before he passed out.
However, coaches reportedly followed the Florida High School Athletic Association’s hydration policy.
The policy requires coaches to give athletes five-minute rest and hydration breaks for every 30 minutes of activity, with helmets removed, and a shady area to cool down. Furthermore, athletes should have access to water at any time it’s requested.
As Fox13 reports, Hillsborough County Public Schools is requiring every high school coach to review the policy and each student’s records to ensure they are medically cleared to participate.
Hillsborough County schools spokesperson Tanya Arja:
“We are devastated by the death of one of our students.This student was an amazing young man who was loved by his friends, teachers and staff at school. He was taking part in conditioning and weight lifting with other athletes and coaches when he collapsed. The coaches immediately called 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. We were heartbroken to hear the news that he later passed away.”
Walters’ loved ones remain shocked by the incoming freshman’s death.
His family released the following statement:
Our family is heartbroken with the loss of Hezekiah. We are still in shock and asking God to provide us peace. As we grieve our loved one, we ask for your prayers and that you respect our privacy during this time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each year an average of about 658 people fall victim to extreme heat.
In order to prevent heat-related illness, the CDC recommends drinking plenty of fluids, working out indoors, and wearing lightweight clothing.
When athletes are on the field, tubs of ice and water should be readily available to cool them down rapidly during practice and games.