Tragedy on the Football Field

For one Ohio family, a Kent State football practice took a tragic turn.  Tyler Heintz, a freshman football player, was rushed to the hospital after reportedly collapsing following a routine football practice.  What could possibly have taken the life of a young, healthy athlete? The preliminary cause of death has been attributed to hyperthermia, highlighting the very real dangers of rising temperatures this time of year.

Hyperthermia, as defined by the National Institutes of Health, is irregularly high body temperature caused by our bodies failing to cool themselves, and regulate heat coming from our surrounding environment.

Hyperthermia is more commonly referred to as;

  • Heat stroke
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Syncope (heat related fainting)
  • Heat fatigue
  • Heat cramps

Risk Factors of Heat Related Illnesses

  • Exertion
  • Age
  • Prescription medication side effects
  • Skin and circulation issues
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Under or over weight
  • Blood pressure abnormalities
  • Heart lung or kidney disease

Safety Measures to Prevent Heat Related Tragedies

While many cases of heat related illness can be difficult to predict, there are precautionary steps that can be taken, and warning signs to watch for. Particularly for athletes, laborers and other individuals that spend time outside during extreme temperatures, these critical steps can have a profound impact.

One study by the American Meteorological Society found that from 1980-2009, there were 58 documented cases of hyperthermia deaths related to football. Changing seasons and rising temperatures, particularly in the beginning of heatwaves and warm seasons, are particularly dangerous. Morning practices have long been thought to be a safer alternative to the afternoon sun and rising daily temperatures, but morning humidity can be equally as dangerous.

The Best Ways to Prevent or Detect Heat Related Illness;

  1. Hydrate
  2. Be aware of your body
  3. Keep a watchful eye for each other, especially elderly individuals
  4. Dress appropriately
  5. Act fast – call 911

Drew Brees’ Latest Campaign

Football great Drew Brees is pioneering a campaign this year to raise awareness for EHS or Exertional Heat Stroke. His easy acronym is a great way to remember what to do:


(H) High Temperatures

(E) Exercise or Activity

(A) Acting Confused

(T) Time to Call 911

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at or call at 877.944.4373.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Article Name
Dangers of Heat on the Football Field
Sun and warm temperatures go hand and hand with fun, but for some, it could mean illness and even death. This article addresses the real danger of heat induced injury and death. Those who are at particular risk for hyperthermia are athletes, laborers, elderly and the young.
Blog Catastrophic Injuries