Authorities: Tampa teen collapses, dies during football practice

Practice included weightlifting, wind sprints with water breaks, police say

TAMPA, Fla. - A 14-year-old boy has died after collapsing Tuesday afternoon during conditioning drills outside on the football field at Middleton High School in Tampa, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times.

Tampa police said the football team had been conducting drills for about a half-hour when incoming freshman Hezekiah Walters lost consciousness. He later died at a hospital.

Police said the practice included weightlifting and wind sprints with water breaks.

The county medical examiner's office will determine Walters' cause of death.

According to the National Center for Catastrophe Sport Injury Research, football-related deaths are very uncommon.

In 2017, the center reported more than 4 million kids, teens and college students played football. During that same year, 13 football-related deaths were reported. Of those 13 deaths, at least eight were due to heatstroke or exertion-related cardiac arrest.

A Hillsborough County Public Schools spokeswoman said the district is devastated by the news of Walters' death and will be reviewing what happened.

Reports of players dying during football practice, unfortunately, happen every year and raising awareness is one of the steps to preventing them.

Another Florida family who lost their son during football conditioning is raising awareness about heat-related illness.

In 2018, the family donated shoulder pads that have a cooling system in them to Robert. E Lee High School in Jacksonville, so if players get too hot on the field, they can cool down.

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