Doctors say Georgia teen died from drinking too much water, Gatorade

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ATLANTA — If your child plays sports or exercises a lot, and then drinks a lot of fluids afterwards, he or she can actually overhydrate.

There’s a lot of talk about this after the death of a Douglas County High School football player.

Zyrees Oliver collapsed at home after football practice last Tuesday. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Monday morning, his family made the difficult decision of removing him from life support after doctors said he would not recover.

Relatives said doctors told them Oliver suffered massive swelling around the brain from overhydration after drinking two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatorade.

We’re always told to hydrate when we work out, especially in the sun, but can we overdo it?

Doctors say if you are not drinking the right mix of fluids and eating the right foods, you can hurt yourself by drinking too much while exercising.

“The brain cells will swell and you can have a problem with brain function you can start to become confused and have some other issues come up,” said Dr. Hanny Atllah.

Atllah said young athletes in particular are vulnerable.

“For those athletes that are exercising frequently and losing a lot of water, they are also losing a lot of salt. It is important to put back the fluid you lost, but it’s also important to make sure your weight hasn’t increased in between workouts,” said Atllah.

According to, “hyponatremia (also known as water intoxication or overhydration) is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Sodium is an electrolyte, and it helps regulate the amount of water that’s in and around your cells. In hyponatremia, one or more factors — ranging from an underlying medical condition to drinking too much water during endurance sports — causes the sodium in your body to become diluted. When this happens, your body’s water levels rise and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to life-threatening.”

Hyponatremia signs and symptoms may include:

Nausea and vomiting
Loss of energy and fatigue
Restlessness and irritability
Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps

Source: WGCL


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