The Lee County Sheriff’s Office closed its investigation into the death of Riverdale (Fort Myers, Fla.) football player Zachary Martin Polsenberg, ruling the 16-year-old died accidentally from hyperthermia caused by heat exposure.
Polsenberg collapsed at the end of a summer workout on June 29 at Riverdale and died on July 10 at Jackson Health Center in Miami.
According to the sheriff’s report, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive lineman collapsed as the team huddled at the end of a three-hour practice that consisted of weight lifting and agility drills inside and running outdoors. Teammates interviewed said Polsenberg said he did not feel right and laid down at the back of the huddle.
Coaches poured water on Polsenberg, who started convulsing and threw up, according to witnesses.
Polsenberg’s mother, Laurie Giordano, told investigators she arrived at the school around 10:17 a.m. or 10:18 a.m. and saw the team go into a huddle. About 10 to 15 minutes later a player from the team came to her car and told her Polsenberg was down on the field.
When she got to the field head coach James Delgado asked Giordano if she wanted him to call 911 and she said yes. Her son was “in a seated position, his eyes were closed, he was moaning and had already thrown up on his shirt,” Giordano told investigators.
The Fort Myers Shores Fire Department responded first and found Polsenberg breathing irregularly, with a body temperature of 101 degrees and he vomited again, according to the sheriff’s report.
Polsenberg’s family had previously stated he fell into a coma and that doctors told them his core temperature registered 107 degrees for more than an hour.
EMS arrived shortly after the fire department, about 10 to 15 minutes after the 911 call, Giordano told police, and transported Polsenberg to Golisano Children’s Hospital. Polsenberg never regained consciousness on his way to the hospital.
Through a spokesperson Polsenberg’s family declined comment on the police report.
“The family is still reviewing it and has no statement at this time,” the family said.