Nebraska high school football player dies at 16 following heat exposure at practice

·2 min read
Football
(Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

A 16-year-old Nebraska high school player is dead after experiencing heat exposure during football practice. 

The University of Nebraska Medical Center declared Drake Geiger dead Tuesday night. Geiger collapsed Tuesday afternoon at South High School football practice and was treated for heat exposure, Omaha Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Fitzgerald told the Associated Press. He had a pulse when medics arrived and was given CPR en route to the hospital. 

"They began to try other procedures to try and revive him," his sister Brittany Hoffman wrote on a GoFundMe page. "With great sadness they were not able to save him."

Heat index was over 100 degrees

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the temperature in Omaha was 91 degrees and the heat index was between 100 and 106 degrees at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The National Weather Service had issued a heat advisory in Omaha. Geiger collapsed at 4:27 p.m., per OFD. 

The Nebraska School Activities Association recommends modifying practice to allow water and rest breaks every 15 minutes and to limit gear to shorts and T-shirts when the apparent temperature (defined as a "combined index of heat and humidity") is between 105 and 124 degrees. It warns that heat cramps and heat exhaustion are "likely" and that heatstroke is "possible" under those conditions. It does not recommend canceling practice until the apparent temperature reaches 125 degrees. 

"Individual reactions to heat will vary," a note on the NSAA's heat index chart reads. "It should be remembered that heat illness can occur at lower temperatures than indicated on the chart."

'He was a healthy big kid'

Geiger's father Scott Hoffman told the World-Herald that his son was 6-foot-3½ and 389 pounds and didn't have any known medical conditions.

"He was a big kid, but he was a healthy big kid," he said. 

Football practice started on Monday. Tuesday was Geiger's first day at practice, according to Hoffman. An Omaha Public Schools spokeswoman told AP that the district was investigating Geiger's death and provided no further comment. 

Geiger is the fourth known high school football player to die this month during practice or a conditioning session, according to AP. 

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