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Lewis N. Simpkins Autopsy Results

Lexington, SC - Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher is releasing the cause of death for Lewis N. Simpkins, the 14-year-old River Bluff football player who collapsed on the field during practice on August 10, 2016, and later died at Lexington Medical Center.

Autopsy results show a multifactorial cause of death.

Lewis N. Simpkins died as a result of complications of a fatal arrhythmia secondary to a pre-existing heart condition. The death results from multiple circumstances that include several factors. Coroner Fisher states that autopsy findings show Lewis Simpkins had cardiomegaly and severe concentric left ventricular hypertrophy. These pre-existing conditions, along with external environmental factors such as the high heat and humidity of the day, likely contributed to this in a setting of strenuous physical exertion (football practice). No electrolyte abnormalities are seen to suggest dehydration, nor was there any definitive evidence of heat stroke.

Fisher states, “Most students get a routine physical before the season starts. That exam isn’t always done by a doctor. And it usually doesn’t include a test called an electrocardiogram. An ECG can uncover signs of dangerous and irregular heart rhythms but doesn’t catch every damaged heart. Also, it sometimes flags a heart as defective when it is perfectly healthy but slightly enlarged due to rigorous training so some doctors may be against including ECG’s in sports physicals. A healthy heart that is misidentified as damaged may encourage kids to give up sports they love.”

Coroner Fisher states that the Simpkins family will release a statement at a later date and time.

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