Experts say risk of over-hydration is rare but deadly

BubblerFootball coaches always stress the importance of staying hydrated to players during those hot summer practices.

But can you become over-hydrated?

The death of a high school football player in metro Atlanta has attracted attention to athletes’ efforts to stay hydrated high temperatures.

According to his doctor, Zyrees Oliver died after drinking too much fluid during football practice.

“We get out in full pads. It gets scorching hot,” said David Mitchell, a Minor High School Football player.

Mitchell knows the importance of staying hydrated during practice. “Right after we exercise, we drink water. After we run, we drink water,” said Mitchell. “Constantly drinking water.”

What players might not pay attention is how much fluid they’re drinking.

Too much water, doctors say, can lead to swelling around the brain from over-hydration.

That’s what the doctor for Zyrees Oliver says happened after he drank two gallons of water and two gallons of sports drink during football practice.

“You’re basically flooding out,” said Dr. Cherie Miner.

Dr. Miner is with Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. She says a large amount of water during a short period of time depletes sodium levels in your body, which causes all the water to shift throughout the body.

“You can’t pee it out fast enough,” said Dr. Miner. “It goes into your cells in your body. When it goes into the cells of your brain, the brain expands causing your brain to herniated. Therefore cause brain death. It’s acute onset. All of a sudden they’ll start to feel nauseas , get confused, may show swelling of hand, feet and arms.”

Dr. Miner says over-hydration is very rare. She says college players use salt replacement products to regulate their bodies during practice. Dr. Miner advises high school football players to drink frequent, small amounts of water to prevent over-hydration.

And she says what’s unknown is whether or not the player in Georgia had some other medical condition, which could have also had something to do with his death.


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