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Allergic reaction to fire ant bites kills Texas teen football player after attack during game

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

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Cameron Espinosa (right) died of an allergic reaction to fire ants on the field -- Facebook

Cameron Espinosa (right) died of an allergic reaction to fire ants on the field -- Facebook

On the same day a New York high school football player succumbed to injuries sustained from an apparent helmet-to-helmet hit, some 1,500 miles to the south, a Texas teen died as the result of an allergic reaction to fire ant bites during a football game on Monday.

Corpus Christi (Texas) Haas Middle School student Cameron Espinosa, 13, was bitten while warming up at halftime of a football game, tried to wash away the ants with a water bottle on the sidelines, but lost consciousness, according to an Associated Press report.

The eighth-grader spent five days at nearby Driscoll Children's Hospital in a medically induced coma to curb the swelling in his brain before his death, KHOU.com reported.

"I have to share the news that Cameron Espinosa has passed away early this morning. We'd like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Cameron," Corpus Christi Independent School District Superintendent Scott Elliff said in a statement to KIII-TV. "Corpus Christi ISD will do all we can to support this student's family and the entire Haas school community during this sad time. We've provided additional grief counseling here at the school today for students and staff as needed."

The football game continued after an ambulance carted Espinosa from the field, but officials later halted play upon learning the severity of the teen's condition, the AP said. The school has now reportedly canceled all extracurricular activities this week.

Meanwhile, Espinosa's parents hired "well-known" attorney Thomas J. Henry to investigate whether CCISD is liable for their son's death, according to KRISTV.com. In addition to concerns about whether the district was aware of the fire ants problem on the field, Henry told KRIS-TV, "We know that there was not EMS on the scene, according to some of the information I've collected, for 20 to 25 minutes, and that's an issue."

While medics are present at Texas high school football games, they are not required at middle school contests, school district spokeswoman Lorette Williams told the AP. However, coaches are trained in basic medical care and used a defibrillator on Espinosa. Both Espinosa and the district were unaware of his allergy, Williams added.

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