ME Report: Tampa teen who collapsed, died after football drills had 102 temp


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A medical examiner found the Tampa teen who died after collapsing at football practice had a body temperature of 102 at the time.

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 an “extremely preliminary” report on Walters’ death 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.

The medical examiner says reports are still being collected to determine the exact cause of death. The autopsy has been completed but the medical examiner says the investigation that will determine the cause of death is far from over.

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.

The Hillsborough Education Foundation has also started a memorial scholarship fund in honor of Walters. 

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.”

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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