Copyright 2017 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.
Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
CLEVELAND — The preliminary cause of death for Kent State football player Tyler Heintz on Tuesday morning has been ruled hyperthermia, which is when the body fails to adequately cool itself down under hot and humid conditions and overheats.
Research has shown that hyperthermia deaths in football often occur early in conditioning drills, in the morning, with linemen being the most susceptible.
Heintz, a 6-4, 275-pound freshman from Kenton, Ohio, collapsed during a late-morning workout on the second day of conditioning drills at Kent State. Weather conditions were 81 degrees with 65 percent humidity at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Akron Fulton Airport, which is about 15 miles from KSU, according to NOAA.
Portage County Coroner Dean DePerro's office said Friday the preliminary cause of death was hyperthermia and was not cardiac related. Officials emphasized there likely will be a minimum of six weeks to two months before a final official cause of death is delivered.
No other KSU football players are known to have had any other heat-related issues from that workout. Per NCAA rules, position coaches are not permitted to participate in the workouts. However, trainers and strength and conditioning coaches are allowed. Kent State reported earlier this week Heintz's workout was supervised.
KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield said, "We have nothing new to share at this time. We remain focused on supporting Tyler's family, teammates and the entire Kent State community as they cope with this overwhelming loss."
According to an American Meteorological Society report in 2011, hyperthermia deaths among football players, particularly linemen, are not uncommon.
It read in part: "During the period 1980-2009, there were 58 documented cases of death due to hyperthermia in football players across the United States... Deaths were most common during the first half of August, when players are not acclimatized to working out in hot and humid conditions.
"Over half of the deaths occurred during morning practices, a time perceived as safe in an effort to avoid the higher temperatures of the afternoon," the report continued.
"The higher humidity present in the morning, however, can be just as detrimental. By position, linemen are disproportionately represented among the deaths, comprising 86% of cases in which position information is available."
Heintz, 19, had completed a series of 110-yard sprints at his high school on June 9 without any issues and recently had a physical, his high school coach, Brent Fackler, told the Ravenna Record-Courier
Funeral services for Heintz are 10:30 a.m. Monday at Walnut Hills Cemetery in Kenton, Ohio.
Read More of Today's AB Headlines
Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter