Local athletic trainers on the lookout for teens drinking too much water, Gatorade

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — In the wake of two teen athletes dying from drinking too much fluid, local athletic trainers are taking notice and educating players.

A Georgia high school football player died last week after drinking too much water and Gatorade during practice.

Relatives say the youth complained of cramping during football practice on Tuesday at Douglas County High School, west of Atlanta. Family remembers report the teen drank two gallons of water and two more gallons of Gatorade.

Doctors told the family the teen suffered massive swelling around the brain from over-hydration.

Drinking large quantities of water in a short period of time can throw off the body’s balance of electrolytes, causing brain swelling and leading to seizures, coma, or even death.

Athletic trainers with Huntsville Hospital’s Sports Center are aware of the problems kids face while practicing in hot summer months.

Bob Jones High School trainer Michael Dye says over-hydration is rare, but they must look out for it.  Dye says he is always concerned for players and making sure they stay properly hydrated.  Dye says players should not only be watching what they drink, but also what they eat.

“They can lose a large amount of salt during even one practice, so eating properly is equally as important,” Dye says.

There have been several other highly publicized cases of death from over-hydration. In 2007, a California woman died after drinking about two gallons of water as part of a radio station contest. The Sacramento County coroner found that Jennifer Lea Strange, 28, died of water intoxication.

A similar case in 2005 claimed the life of a Chico State University student, Matthew Carrington, who drank too much water during a fraternity initiation. One fraternity member pleaded guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter and two others pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

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