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Tampa teenager collapses, dies on football field during drills, police say

Posted at 12:55 PM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-13 20:28:16-04

TAMPA, Fla. — An incoming freshman at Middleton High School died after collapsing during conditioning drills on Tuesday, according to police.

Tampa Police say 14-year-old Hezekiah Walters was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital where he was pronounced dead. It happened around 4 p.m. at the school's football field, police say.

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According to police, the teen collapsed when the team was 30 to 40 minutes into conditioning drills, which included weightlifting, wind sprints and water breaks.

A medical examiner will determine the teen's cause of death, police say. No other information was immediately available.

The school issued this statement:

"We are devastated by the death of one of our students. This student was an amazing young man who was loved by his friends, teachers and staff at school. He was taking part in conditioning and weight lifting with other athletes and coaches when he collapsed. The coaches immediately called 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. We were heartbroken to hear the news that he later passed away."

The Hillsborough County School District released the following statement and a FAQ for students and their families:

One of our student athletes, Hezekiah Walters, tragically passed away yesterday. We continue to review the circumstances surrounding his passing and are awaiting further information from the medical examiner.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are directing each school to take the proactive step of ceasing all conditioning and athletic activities until these requirements are met:

1) Direct every coach to review all safety procedures pertaining to athletic activities.

2) Complete a review by school staff members of student records to ensure every student taking part in any athletic activity is cleared to participate.

High School Principals will confirm with the district once these steps are complete.

These actions are both already required by longstanding district procedures, but we are bringing them back to the forefront. Our students’ safety is our top concern.