Tampa mom recalls devastating day 14-year-old collapsed at football practice, died

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Phyllis Thompson-Walters is heartbroken over the loss of her son.

“I just started crying and told God to help us. Help us, Jesus, right now. If there’s a God, if there be God, help us right now,” Thompson-Walters said.

Her son, 14-year-old Hezekiah Walters, collapsed on June 11 while running drills at Middleton High School in Tampa. The incoming freshman vomited and had a seizure. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he later died.

An autopsy revealed the 14-year-old died from exertional hyperthermia.

“I had never seen nothing like that in real life. You’re only supposed to see that stuff on TV but that was my son on that table,” Thompson-Walters said.

Hezekiah Walters shortly after his first day at practice

Walters got the bug to play football after scoring a touchdown during middle school.

“He said, ‘Mommy, I made a touchdown and it felt good.’ He said, ‘I always wanted to make a touchdown.’ He said – and I was driving – he said, ‘I finally made a touchdown and it felt good.'”

Thompson-Walters said when she and Hezekiah’s dad arrived at the hospital the day their son collapsed, it was far worse than she expected.

She knelt to his feet and began to pray.

“I got up and I went and lifted my son’s eyelids and I looked up at that line and it still hadn’t moved. I said Lord have mercy, and I told the Lord thank you for giving me the days that you had given me with Hezekiah.”

Watch Rod Carter’s story Tuesday at 6 p.m. on News Channel 8 to hear more from Hezekiah’s family.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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