Teen Dies After Allegedly Being Denied Water Break During Dance Practice. Father Says Dehydration Led to Death

A 17-year-old girl died after reportedly being denied a water break while training with her dance team on June 10.

Elyse Purefoy had just finished running several laps with her dance team at Arabia Mountain High School when she collapsed, WBAL11 reports.

Her teammates told reporters that coaches denied Purefoy’s request to stop for water multiple times.


Arianna Ameler, a friend of Purefoy, said:

“I think the schools need to take it more seriously when they hear complaints from their, from their participants, and taking it seriously cause I think a lot it is over looked sometimes as you being weak.”

When paramedics arrived at the scene, they attempted to take Purefoy to the hospital. However, the teen’s heart stopped on the way to the hospital, and she couldn’t be revived.

DeKalb County Schools released a statement Monday afternoon saying the entire school community “mourns the passing of a member of the school’s dance team. Our hearts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”

Hank Purefoy, the teen’s father, said:

“She was a beautiful spirit. I’m going to miss her. That’s it.”

He added that extreme dehydration played a role in his daughter’s death.

As Mayo Clinic reports, dehydration while exercising intensely can lead to heat injury. For example, one might experience heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.

As Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, signs of both of these illnesses include passing out, dizziness, a headache, and nausea.

Purefoy’s family has started a GoFundMe to cover funeral costs. A member of her family wrote on the donation page:

“Today started just like any other day. I made you breakfast and lunch, and hugged you and told you to have fun at dance training. I smiled as I saw you and your brother get in the car to drive you to practice, but who could have known that you would not be coming home to us.”