HS football player dies after collapsing during drills in Tampa

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tuesday afternoon at Middleton High School it was 88 degrees, but a high dew point made it feel like nearly 100 degrees outside.

Hezekiah Walters and other student-athletes and coaches were at practice lifting weights and running wind sprints.

That’s when Tampa Police say Hezekiah collapsed. The school reports coaches immediately called Tampa Fire Rescue. The 14-year-old was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital where his parents were told he passed away.

“Hate to see that happen to anyone obviously. Sad thing that happened.” Satin said. 

Like so many parents, Jeff Satin says his heart is broken for the family of Hezekiah. “Hate to see that happen to anyone obviously. Sad thing that happened.” Satin said. 

Satin is a little league baseball coach, and says he keeps a close eye on all the players including the catcher, his daughter. For this dad?  His top priority isn’t just about winning, it’s making sure these girls are safe, especially after what happened at Middleton High School

“We’ve got to be mindful of that and take those water breaks and stay hydrated in Florida, for sure.” Satin said.

Hezekiah, an incoming freshman to Middleton High, had just graduated from Franklin Middle. He was involved in volunteer efforts with the Men of Vision, a service organization.

The football team was approximately 30 to 40 minutes into the conditioning drills, which included weightlifting, wind sprints, and water breaks, when Walters collapsed, according to police. 

Hillsborough County Schools released a statement saying “Hezekiah was an amazing young man who was loved by his friends, teachers, and staff at school… We were heartbroken to hear the news that he later passed away.”

Police and school officials say the team had only been 30 to 40 minutes into practice when Hezekiah collapsed and that there were water breaks.

The family released this statement to WFLA saying: “Our family is heartbroken with the loss of Hezekiah. We are still in shock and asking God to provide us peace.”

A GoFundMe page was created to help the family cover Hezekiah’s funeral expenses. 

Hillsborough County Public Schools has provided News Channel 8 with measures to be put in place following the death of Walters.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are directing each school to take the proactive step of ceasing all conditioning and athletic activities until these requirements are met:

1) Direct every coach to review all safety procedures pertaining to athletic activities.

2) Complete a review by school staff members of student records to ensure every student taking part in any athletic activity is cleared to participate.

High School Principals will confirm with the district once these steps are complete. 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.

Doctors remind all parents this time of year that hydration is key and must be constant. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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