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Florida high school football player dies after suffering heat stroke

A Florida high school football player died Monday, two weeks after suffering a heat stroke during one of the team’s offseason workouts.

Zachary Polsenberg, 16, collapsed during a June 29 workout, and his body core temperature registered at 107 degrees for more than an hour, according to USA Today. Heat stroke becomes a serious risk when the body reaches 104 degrees or higher.

Polsenberg was transferred to a hospital, where he fell into a coma and was on life support until he was taken off of it on Monday. 

From USA Today:

A Lee County School District spokesperson confirmed a student had a medical emergency at the end of football practice on June 29. The National Weather Service listed the high temperature that day at Page Field as 92 degrees.

“Our coaches are trained to act quickly in response to anyone showing signs of distress,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “They rendered aid, called 911 and the student was transported to the hospital.”

“This practice was part of offseason conditioning and took place from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. It was held indoors and outdoors. At these practices, water breaks are given at least every 30 minutes and sooner if needed. Players are also encouraged to stop and hydrate whenever necessary in addition to those breaks.”

Polsenberg was not practicing in pads, something that is prohibited by the state athletic association at this point during the offseason.

Coach & Athletic Director columnist Ken Mannie, who is the strength/conditioning coach at Michigan State University, wrote about using caution in the summer heat and guidelines to keep players safe. Click here to read that story.

Read more about Zachary Polsenberg here.


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