A 14-year-old incoming freshman at Middleton High School in Tampa, Fla., collapsed and died while taking part in conditioning drills with the football team.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that hours after the death of Hezekiah B. Walters, the Hillsborough County School District halted all summer workouts and athletic activities until staff complete a review of safety procedures at every school.
Coaches were ordered to review all safety procedures for taking part in athletic activities; school staff must check the records of every student to make sure they’re eligible to take part in offseason athletics; and every school’s principal must inform the district that these steps have been completed.
“These actions are both already required by longstanding district procedures, but we are bringing them back to the forefront,” district spokeswoman Tanya Arja says.
Hezekiah collapsed at about 4 p.m. Tuesday on the school’s football field after the team had completed 30 to 40 minutes of drills, police say. The coaches immediately called 911, the district said.
Tampa Fire Rescue paramedics took Hezekiah to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police say the drills the student was taking part in included weightlifting and wind sprints with water breaks.
High school football practice doesn’t officially start in Florida until July 29. But football players and other athletes spend their summers working out. These unofficial conditioning sessions take place on school campuses and must be supervised by an adult.
Although the cause of Hezekiah’s death remains undetermined, heat-related deaths have been an ongoing concern in high school athletics, especially football.
Since 1995, 47 high school football players from across the nation have died from heat stroke, according to the University of North Carolina’s National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. Ninety percent of the deaths reported in the center’s research occurred during practice.