Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Football players death remains mystery

CHAPEL HILL -- The state medical examiner's office has found no definite explanation for the death of a 17-year-old high school football player following a scrimmage last summer.

Atlas Shaquille Fraley evidently died of natural causes, possibly as a result of multiple factors, according to a report of the autopsy made public today.

Fraley, who had asthma, died on Aug. 12 at his home following a Chapel Hill High School football scrimmage that left him cramping and complaining of dehydration.

"It may be that there are multiple factors involved," state medical examiner John D. Butts wrote in the autopsy report. "He may have become relatively dehydrated with the resulting fluid and electrolyte imbalances causing the cramping, the resulting agitation precipitating a fatal cardiac event or even an acute asthmatic attack."

Before he died, Fraley called 911. A paramedic who went to his home evaluated him, thought he was stable and left after advising him about adequate hydration, the report said. Fraley's parents later found him dead on the floor.

A year previously, Fraley had experienced a similar episode of cramping following a football exercise, the autopsy report said. At the time, paramedics found him dehydrated, treated him with intravenous fluids and instructed him to follow a hydration regimen before strenuous activity.

On the day of the scrimmage, Fraley possibly did not follow that hydration regimen, the report said. Also, the report noted, Fraley's cousins have had similar cramping episodes.

Fraley possibly had an inherited disorder of metabolism affecting his muscle function, though such disorders usually are not fatal, the report said.

-- Raleigh News & Observer