Medical Examiner: Tampa teen who collapsed, died at football practice had 102 degree temp

National
Hezekiah Walters

A medical examiner found a Tampa high school football player who died on Tuesday after collapsing at practice had a body temperature of 102 degrees at the time of his death.

Hezekiah Walters collapsed while running drills at Middleton High School on Tuesday. School officials say coaches immediately called 911. The 14-year-old was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department released its initial summary report on Walters on Thursday.

According to the report, Walters was running sprints and “ladder drills” for about 20 minutes with one water break. Around 3:45 p.m., the medical examiner says Walters started to “vomit then seizure.”

CPR was performed at the scene while waiting for Tampa Fire Rescue to arrive. The medical examiner report says Walters was in cardiac arrest and ventricular fibrillation when firefighters arrived. 

He was rushed to the hospital, where they noted he had a temperature of 102. Doctors worked to save him, but the medical examiner says the teen was pronounced dead at 5:05 p.m.

The report from medical examiners says Walters did not have any medical issues other than allergies.

Walters had just graduated from Franklin Middle School and was set to begin at Middleton High in the fall. A GoFundMe has been set up to help his family cover funeral costs.

Shortly after the boy’s death, Hillsborough County Public Schools ordered each school to stop conditioning and athletic activities until two specific requirements are met. Schools will have to direct every coach to review all safety procedures pertaining to athletic activities. They will also have to complete a review by school staff members of student records to ensure every student taking part in athletic activity is cleared to participate.

“High School Principals will confirm with the district once these steps are complete,” a spokesperson said. “These actions are both already required by longstanding district procedures, but we are bringing them back to the forefront. Our students’ safety is our top concern.”

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