PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Too much caffeine.
That is what the coroner of Richland County, South Carolina is blaming for the death of an otherwise healthy 16-year-old boy.
Davis Cripe collapsed during class at his high school last month, and later died in the hospital.
Coroner Gary Watts says Cripe consumed a large soft drink, a latte and then an energy drink – all in less than two hours.
Watts says the combination caused Cripe to have a “cardiac event.”
“These drinks, this amount of caffeine, and how it’s ingested can have dire consequences. That’s what happened in this case,” says Watts.
He also says, so far, Cripe’s autopsy has shown no undiagnosed heart condition.
Dr. Ben Lawner, who practices emergency medicine at Allegheny General Hospital, says everyone reacts differently to caffeine.
When it comes to energy drinks, Lawner says most have a caffeine content equivalent to one or two cups of coffee and don’t pose a problem.
However, he says, “I think when you start chugging energy drinks, that added effect in a short period of time is when, I think, you get into trouble and you can worry about adverse risks.”
Davis Cripe’s parents hope their son’s tragic death can serve as a warning to others and urge parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of caffeine.
“We worry about their safety, their health, especially when they start driving. But it wasn’t a car crash that took his life; instead, it was an energy drink,” says Sean Cripe.
The American Beverage Association, which represents the makers of almost all energy drinks sold in America, maintains that its energy drinks can be safely consumed in moderation.