A Tampa high school student died after collapsing during football drills on Tuesday.
A 14-year-old Tampa high school student died after collapsing during football drills on Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Hezekiah Walters, an incoming freshman at Middleton High School, collapsed around 4 p.m. on the football field after the team finished 30 to 40 minutes of drills. Coaches immediately called 911, and paramedics took Hezekiah to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The Times reported the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating the cause of death.
Police told the newspaper that the drills included weightlifting and wind sprints, and the team had water breaks. WFLA reported that Tuesday afternoon's temperature was 88 degrees, but a high dew point made it feel nearly 100 degrees.
The Walters family released a statement to the Times asking for privacy.
"Our family is heartbroken with the loss of Hezekiah," the family said. "We are still in shock and asking God to provide us peace. As we grieve our loved one, we ask for your prayers and that you respect our privacy during this time."
High school football practice does not officially start until July 29 in Florida, but players can participate in unofficial conditioning sessions on their schools' campus with adult supervision.
The Hillsborough County School District said it stopped all athletic activities to review safety procedures at each school. Across the district, coaches must review safety procedures pertaining to all athletic activities. School staff members must check student's records to ensure each student is eligible to participate in athletic activities, and every school's principal must alert the district that these steps have been taken.
Spokesperson Tanya Arja said in a statement to the Times that these measures were already longstanding procedures, but the district wanted to "[bring] them back to the forefront."
A GoFundMe campaign was started to help the Walters family with funeral expenses. The campaign aims to raise $5,000 and reached donations of $3,335 by the time of publishing.