How you can protect from suffering heat stroke

Posted at 1:51 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-12 13:51:57-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A tragic ending for a Southwest Florida teenager this week is raising questions about how to protect your child from heat stroke.

16-year-old Zachary Martine-Polsenberg collapsed on the field during football practice at Riverdale High School in Fort Myers last month, and passed away Monday after being taken off life support due to heat stroke.

"With the heat and the humidity, it really adds stress on the kids," said Kathleen Johnson, Zach's Godmother.

The heat and humidity on the field during the conditioning practice was too much for Zachary, who collapsed on the field while running drills.  Doctors say the 6'4" teen's core temperature skyrocketed to 107 degrees, causing internal injuries.

He slipped into a coma and died at a Miami hospital.

Florida's intense heat makes anyone here more susceptible to a heat related illness.

The FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center in Fort Myers trains several local athletes.  Dr. Virginia Reed says if you think the heating is affecting you, stop right away.  "Stop, drink, hydrate, okay. You can check your body temperature," said Dr.Reed.

A heat stroke occurs when the body rises to over 103 degrees or higher.  Symptoms include hot, but damp skin, strong pulse, a headache, dizziness or confusion.

"Hydrate throughout the day, because if you don't you won't have enough water in you to sustain the activity" said Dr. Reed.

Dr. Reed also suggests that young athletes should weigh themselves before and after a workout.  "Weigh yourself before the activity.  After you finished the activity, and you're tired, sweaty, weigh yourself again and see how much weight you've lost. You need to rehydrate, drink a lot of water. You want to replenish that beginning weight until you got out and lose more," said Dr. Reed.