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Highland Springs football player in serious condition after overheating at practice

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 16, 2015

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A football player at Highland Springs High School became overheated during summer strength and conditioning training and was rushed to the hospital in serious condition on Monday morning, according to first responders and school officials.

Andy Jenks, spokesperson for Henrico County Public Schools, said the rising junior was lifting weights in an air conditioned room for the majority of his workout before heading outside to run a mile.

The student became ill and went to the hospital after finishing the mile.

Jenks said hydration is a priority during training and kids are required to bring a gallon of water with them. He said they’re allowed to get as much water as they want whenever they need it.

Jenks added that the kids are encouraged to run the mile at their own pace, and there are plenty of bottles of water available for them if needed.

Pediatrician Doctor Eric Freeman, with Old Dominion Pediatrics, said now is the time to talk to your kids about the warning signs for heat stroke.

“They will become very clammy, dizzy, sometimes they’ll have mental status changes where they are disoriented or unable to verbalize commands,” Freeman said.

Freeman said the transition from “an indoor environment to an outdoor humid environment with a person who is already trying to release a tremendous amount of heat into a humid environment can be very challenging.”

John McGuire with SEAL Team Physical Training works with kids at area schools and said they often do not realize how much water they need to drink.

“It’s mandatory for our instructors to give water breaks if it’s 80 degrees or hotter," McGuire said. "A lot of kids are just out their drinking Gatorade, but that’s not enough, you should have two for one on the Gatorade.”

He said kids are not as in tune with their bodies as adults, and it was important for parents, coaches, trainers and other students to keep an eye out for possible signs of distress.

“If they’re not running a straight line, maybe they’re a little wobbly, maybe they’re not coherent, not responding to your instructions, something is going on and it needs further investigation,” McGuire said.

Jenks said the school system’s athletic directors and coaches follow all Virginia High School League guidelines on heat and hydration.