Teen Drinks 4 Gallons of Water and Gatorade, Dies

It wasn't a prank; Zyrees Oliver overhydrated after football practice

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 13, 2014 8:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hours before he was supposed to start his first day of his senior year of high school in Georgia, 17-year-old Zyrees Oliver collapsed and was rushed to the hospital in a helicopter. He'd consumed 2 gallons of water and 2 gallons of Gatorade after football practice last Tuesday and was so overhydrated that his body's electrolytes were thrown off balance, causing massive swelling in his brain. Five days later, on Sunday night, he was taken off the ventilator. "He's already in heaven," his aunt, Nina Oliver, told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that night. He was pronounced dead hours later.

"It's incomprehensible," Oliver says. "We had a healthy, beautiful, vibrant young man." Zyrees excelled at both football and track and boasted a 3.8 GPA, according to his family and friends. His classmates wore team colors and formed a prayer circle at school on Friday, while grief counselors were dispatched Monday. While death from overhydration is very rare, it does happen: A woman died in 2007 after drinking 2 gallons of water in a radio contest, reports CBS News; earlier this year, a couple was charged after their 5-year-old daughter died from drinking too much grape soda. (Gatorade, meanwhile, helped this girl survive.)

Gatorade bottles line the Buffalo Bills' bench during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, NC, on Aug. 8, 2014.
Gatorade bottles line the Buffalo Bills' bench during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, NC, on Aug. 8, 2014.   (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
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