Ex-NFL player, 32, dies of heat stroke, officials say
Mitch Petrus, who played three seasons in the National Football League, passed away on Thursday night at the age of 32.
Petrus died at 10:45 p.m. after being taken to Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock, according to Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs. The official cause of death was determined to be heat stroke.
The AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature reached a high of 101 degrees Fahrenheit in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis. The high temperature of 92 F was in line with historical averages for July in Little Rock.
New York Giants defensive end Justin Trattou (69) and teammate offensive guard Mitch Petrus toss signed footballs to fans during media day prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on January 31, 2012. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
The normal high in mid-July is 93 degrees for the Little Rock area.
Petrus was reportedly working outside all day at his family shop, according to The Associated Press. Records indicate that Petrus reported feeling ill, Hobbs said. NBC News reported that a call came into the the Lonoke County Sheriff's office on Thursday evening at around 6:45 asking for emergency responders to be sent to X-Hog Wrecker and Roadside, a freight shipping and trucking company run by Petrus' family in Carlisle, about 35 miles outside Little Rock.
"He was drinking water but not enough electrolytes," Hobbs said of Petrus, according to the NBC News report.
While playing at University of Arkansas, Petrus earned All-SEC honors before being drafted by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He would go on to appear in 27 games over his career and won a Super Bowl ring with the Giants in 2012.
Members of the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, including Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek, took to Twitter to mourn Petrus.
Lawrence Tynes, a former teammate with the Giants, expressed his condolences to Petrus' family.
"RIP Mitch Petrus, another loss to our Giants family way too young. Fun dude who played hard. Prayers to his family and friends," Tynes said.
Heat is the top killer among weather-related deaths each year, according to data compiled from the National Weather Service.
Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and results when the body's temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heat-related illnesses occur when the body is not able to properly cool itself.
"In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. This can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs," the CDC states.
People spending time outdoors in the extreme heat should remember to wear appropriate clothing that is lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting if possible. It's also best to limit time outdoors to the morning and evening hours and to spend as much time in an air-conditioned space as possible, according to the CDC.Report a Typo
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