Coroner: Too much caffeine led to heart problems that killed South Carolina teen

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Kristin Thorne has the latest details.

A coroner says a healthy 16-year-old South Carolina high school student died from heart problems after drinking too much caffeine.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Monday that Davis Cripe had no pre-existing heart condition that might have caused him to collapse and die in a classroom last month.

Watts says Cripe drank a large Mountain Dew, a latte from McDonald's and an energy drink in the two hours before his heart fell out of rhythm at Spring Hill High School near Chapin on April 26.

Watts says parents need to know that while a soda or a cup of coffee is OK for teens, large amounts of caffeine can be deadly.

"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," said Davis's father Sean.

Sean Cripe says the death of his son should serve as a warning to other parents.

Watts revealed that the teen died of a caffeine induced cardiac event.

"I stand before you as a broken-hearted father and hope that something good can come from this," said Sean Cripe. "Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. And teenagers and students please stop using them. There's no reason to consume them. They can be very dangerous."

Doctors say parents should remind their children that drinking water is always best. But they warn that parents need to be careful too.

Too much caffeine has the same effect on teenagers as it does on adults.

"I would say watch all these different products that you are taking in that may have caffeine in them that you may not even be aware," said Dr. Stephanie Hernandez of Mount Sinai Hospital. "The energy drink, the supplement, how much does that large coffee have and the other beverages we take for athletic performance."

Symptoms of having too much caffeine include tremors, seizures and fever.

Doctors say parents should monitor as best as possible their children's caffeine intake.
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