TAMPA (CNN) – A 14-year-old collapsed and died during football practice at a high school on Tuesday.
Hezekiah Walters, an incoming freshman at Tampa’s Middleton High School, collapsed during drills around 4 p.m., police said. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Walters collapsed around 30 minutes into an outdoor practice at the school’s football field that included weightlifting and wind sprints. Coaches immediately called 911 when they saw he collapsed.
Medical examiners are working to determine the cause of death.
“We are devastated by the death of one of our students,” said Tanya Arja, a spokesperson for the county’s public schools. “This student was an amazing young man who was loved by his friends, teachers, and staff at school.”
The trend of students who die playing football is rare but reliable: since 2000, at least 10 of the more than 4 million children, teens and college students who play the sport die every year as a result of their participation or overexertion, a CNN study found.
Heatstroke and exertion-related heart attacks caused nine out of 13 football-related deaths in 2017.
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