Teen athlete dies from drinking too much water

Tampa, Florida -- High school football in Florida is a storied tradition, and Tampa Bay cultivates some of the best players. So does Georgia, but the career of one young man ended in tragedy.

Zyrees Oliver, a star athlete at Douglas County High School outside Atlanta, drank two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatorade to stop cramps. 12 hours later, he lapsed into a coma.

Dr. Mark Flodin of GMS in Tampa says in Oliver's case, his brain swelled from too much water -- killing him.

NEW: 14-year-old boy collapses, dies at Florida football camp

"When you drink too much water, especially if its done rapidly, the water shifts into the cells, causing the cells to swell, and the cell dies. In this case, the brain, which is in a rigid box, the skull, it has no where to go. If it begins to swell, the brain rapidly dies," said Flodin.

Clearwater Central Catholic has a prominent football program where Coach John Davis pushes his players hard, but says hydration is a tenant of any sport.

See Also: Girl helps send team to Little League World Series

"But with hydration problems, especially in Florida as hot as it is, you preach constantly hydration, hydration, hydration. We just talked to the players again today," said Davis.

Parents of students athletes must be vigilant too, and this recent death set off alarms.

"Unless you're in the know, in the medical field, maybe you would have knowledge of this, but as a parent, no...you wouldn't think," said Matt Rusish, whose son plays football at Clearwater Central Catholic.

Doctors advise you to drink plenty of water, but you should do it over a long period of time, and they recommend sports drinks because they replace electrolytes lost when you sweat.

For more information on the dangers of overhydration click here.

Be careful when exercising in the heat:


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment