An otherwise healthy 16-year-old high school student in South Carolina died after collapsing in class last month and now, according to the coroner who examined his body, the cause of death is being placed on too much caffeine.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts stated in a news conference on Monday that that student, Davis Allen Cripe, suffered from a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia.”
Gripe is said to have downed a trio of caffeine-heavy beverages, including: a large Diet Mountain Dew, an energy drink, and a caffeine latte, over a two-hour period prior to his collapse.
Davis’ autopsy failed to reveal any undiagnosed heart conditions. Additionally, no other drugs or alcohol were found in his system, and he didn’t have any ailments that could be triggered by his caffeine intake.
Among those at Monday’s news conference to reveal the teen’s cause of death was his father, Sean Cripe, who spoke because he said he wants parents to realize the dangers of energy drinks.
“Like all parents, we worry about our kids as they grow up. We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. But it wasn't a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink,” Sean said. “Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks.”
On that same line of thinking, Watts added, “This was not an overdose. We lost Davis from a totally legal substance. Our purpose here today is to let people know, especially our young kids in school, that these drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis.”
Guidelines recommend no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine daily. However, that’s for adults. For kids between the ages of 12 and 18, the amount that one should not exceed shrinks dramatically, all the way down to 100 mg. According to CNN, anything above that can be linked with elevated blood pressure in teens.
A 2014 study found that 73 percent of kids take in some form of caffeine on a daily basis. Practice moderation out there.