Coroner: River Bluff Player Died of 'Multiple Factors'

Lewis Simpkins had pre-existing heart conditions.

Lexington County, SC (WLTX) - Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher says a River Bluff High School football player who collapsed during practice died of "multiple factors," including a pre-existing heart condition.

Fisher issued her report on the death of 14-year-old Lewis Simpkins late Tuesday afternoon.

Simpkins passed out during a preseason practice at River Bluff High back on August 10. He was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Fisher said Simpkins died of complications from an abnormal heart rhythm caused by a pre-existing heart condition. According to her findings, Simpkins had an enlarged heart and a thickening of the left ventricle.

She adds that those pre-existing conditions, in combination with the high heat and humidity of the day, likely contributed to what happened, as did the strenuous physical activity.

She said there was no evidence of dehydration or heat stroke. 

“Most students get a routine physical before the season starts," Fisher said. " That exam isn’t always done by a doctor. And it usually doesn’t include a test called an electrocardiogram.  An ECG can uncover signs of dangerous and irregular heart rhythms but doesn’t catch every damaged heart.  Also, it sometimes flags a heart as defective when it is perfectly healthy but slightly enlarged due to rigorous training so some doctors may be against including ECG’s in sports physicals.  A healthy heart that is misidentified as damaged may encourage kids to give up sports they love.”





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