Citrus High football player died of heart condition, autopsy finds

Citrus County

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An autopsy report has revealed more details into what killed a Citrus High School football player after he collapsed during practice last September.

The associate medical examiner for Citrus County wrote in her Dec. 29 autopsy report that 16-year-old Antonio Hicks died on Sept. 29 of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes the heart to grow thickened muscles that can block or restrict blood flow to the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is typically inherited. Those with the condition have a 50% chance to pass on the disease to their children.

Hick’s autopsy found ventricular hypertrophy in the teen’s heart as well as myocyte disarray, which is when the heart’s muscle cells are arranged in an abnormal way. The examination also found vascular congestion as well as fluid in Hick’s lungs, according to the report.

A toxicology report from NMS found no positive findings in the player’s blood.

The American Heart Association said symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy typically include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen and veins in the neck

The AHA said around 1 in 500 people have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but most go undiagnosed. The condition is said to be the leading cause of cardiac deaths of young people and athletes under the age of 35.

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