Lessons to learn from a teenager who died from water intoxication after football practice

How much is too much water?

TAMPA - A life and death warning you need to read before your kids head back to school.

It's advice too late to save one teen.  He thought he was doing the right thing-- drinking lots of fluids to stay hydrated.

“We’re talking about a 3.8 GPA student wanting to go to college to play football.”

There is a lot of talk about hydration after a Georgia teen collapsed at home after football practice.  Zyrees Oliver was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

His aunt, Tammy Chavis, said the high school student was brain dead due to water intoxication after the football player drank two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatoraide during football practice.  

“You’d think with dehydration the more water you give the better you’re making it.  No, not in all cases. Sometimes it does the opposite effect.”

Over hydration is a rare condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is diluted. When this happens your body's water levels rise and your cells begin to swell.

Relatives said Oliver suffered massive swelling around the brain and the family made the difficult decision to remove him from life support.

I reached out the Medical Director of Pediatric Sports Medicine at All Children's Hospital today and asked him what he recommended in terms of hydration.  He said during activity- drink to thirst in adults.

For high school students in sports it can be more difficult, but based on volume:  12-18 ounces 15 minutes before activity, and 4 to 6 ounces every 15 minutes of high intensity activity.

The volume you drink can be adjusted based upon the temperature, humidity and volume of sweat loss.

Here are the signs and symptoms of over hydration:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • confusion
  • loss of energy and fatigue
  • restlessness
  • muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • seizures and coma

 

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