Summer heat appears to have claimed another prep football life on Wednesday, when 17-year-old Daniel Lule, a junior at Spring Valley (Ill.) Hall High School, collapsed and died following the football team's practice on Wednesday.
According to the North Central Illinois News Tribune, which first reported Lule's death, the teenager collapsed while running conditioning drills during the squad's first day of practice for the fall football season. As soon as he collapsed, Hall trainer Elena Gaeta tended to the teen until EMT crews arrived, when they ripped off his shirt and immediately began chest compressions as part of emergency CPR.
The 5-foot-9, 225-pound lineman was transported to a nearby hospital but never recovered, eventually passing away just more than an hour after he collapsed.
"It is a very sad day for Hall High School," Spring Valley superintendent Mike Struna said in a press release. "The thoughts and prayers of the entire Hall High School community go out to the Lule family. Daniel was a wonderful young man who was a Red Devil through and through. He will be greatly missed by the entire Hall High School family, especially his friends and teammates."
According to the News Tribune, Lule had told a few teammates between drills that he was feeling chest pains, but neither Lule or the teammates told coaches, with the junior instead attempting to "tough out" the remainder of the afternoon's drills.
That decision appears to have been a deadly one.
Results from an autopsy on Lule are due back on Friday, when officials may be able to confirm that the teen died from heat related complications. While that confirmation will do little to ease the pain of the teammates Lule left behind, it could help the school and others in Illinois improve its preparation for future heat-related incidents.
In the meantime, grief counselors were scheduled to be available at the school throughout Thursday and Friday to help all those struggling with Lule's untimely death.