Macon, Ga. (AP) — An autopsy has found that a 15-year-old high school football player who died during practice in Georgia in July was the victim of an “abnormal heart rhythm” and not a heat-related illness.
Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones told The Telegraph of Macon That autopsy by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner found that Joshua Ivory Jr. died on July 26 from cardiac dysrhythmia, leading to a “sudden cardiac arrest.”
Jones said Ivory was suffering from an “abnormal heart rhythm that sent him into cardiac arrest.”
The 15-year-old fell on the first day of fall football practice at Southwest High School in Macon. Bibb County Athletic Director Barney Hester said the coaches called an ambulance after Ivory was identified to be in distress. Ivory died in the hospital emergency room.
Georgia rules call for a period of five days for players to get used to the heat and physical exertion while practicing in shorts and helmets. Bibb County Superintendent Curtis Jones said the school took more extra precautions than necessary. The district reviewed its rules after Ivory’s death. Macon reached a high of 97 °C (36 °C) before the exercise began.
Southwest High head coach Joe Dupree was placed on administrative leave in August while school officials investigated, but was reinstated less than a week later.
“It’s good to have the results back, but it’s still a sad day as a family has lost a loved one,” Jones said. “Our thoughts remain with the family of Joshua Ivory.”