Kent State University football player likely died from hyperther - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Kent State University football player likely died from hyperthermia

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KENT, Ohio -

The Kent State University football player who collapsed at practice this week likely died from hyperthermia, according to the Portage County Coroner's office.

Hyperthermia is when the body overheats and is unable to regulate itself.  

The condition is often accompanied by excessive sweating, an accelerated heart rate, nausea and exhaustion.

Director of Sports Medicine at Mercy Health, Dr. Jeffrey Johnston, says these cases are not particularly unusual.

"This can happen in the healthy individuals. Typically, we see it more frequently in the offensive, defensive lineman, the bigger guys, the ones that may have to exert themselves a little bit more," said Johnston. 

Tyler Heintz was just beginning his freshman year at Kent when he was rushed to the hospital following conditioning drills on Tuesday.

The Portage County Coroner's preliminary exam of Heintz points to the heat, specifically suggesting hyperthermia as a potential cause of death.

Back in 2015, the National Athletic Trainers Association recommended athletes become acclimated with the heat over a one to two week period, increasing the intensity and duration of activity while gradually introducing things like helmets and chest pads.

"Once you are acclimated to this, you can obviously tolerate more than coming right out of the gate and conditioning full go," said Johnston.

Dr. Johnston says knowing the signs of heat illness, staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet and sidelining yourself when the heat becomes too much are the best ways to protect yourself.

The Portage County Sheriff's office is waiting for further test results to rule out any other factors before making an official ruling on Heintz's death.

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