Family: Piggott athlete who collapsed during football practice has died

Updated: Aug. 15, 2020 at 2:08 PM CDT
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PIGGOTT, Ark. (KAIT) - A Piggott High School junior who suffered extreme heat stroke during football practice earlier this week has died.

Hunter Midkiff’s grandfather, Bruce Swan sent a message Saturday morning to our reporter stating:

I’m sorry to say but my Grandson Hunter went to be with The Lord this morning around 3:30 am

Hunter, who was 16, was taken to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital on Monday after collapsing during football practice. His condition was listed as critical, and he was placed into a drug-induced coma, according to his father John.

Hunter is “experiencing levels of kidney and liver failure,” John Midkiff told Region 8 News Tuesday afternoon.

By Wednesday, when Region 8 News reached out, John said it wasn’t the best day for his son.

Not the best day. He has been added to the transplant registry for his Liver. He is very high on the list and we are remaining optimistic. First National bank has opened a Hunter Midkiff Fund at every 1st National Bank in the State to help with future cost. By getting a transplant this has made the road to recovery a little longer but as long as I get to take him home. The support from not only around the state but people from over 30 more states have reached out offering prayer. We need all the prayer we can get.

Hunter, who played guard on offense and defensive tackle on defense for the Piggott Mohawks, collapsed around 9 a.m. Monday during drills at Parker Field.

“He enjoys hunting, fishing, and working out with his friends,” John Midkiff said. “There is a chance he may never play football again. This can’t be all for nothing.”

Midkiff credits the football coaches for working to save his son’s life.

“He would not be here today if not for them,” he said. “He stopped breathing multiple times en route to the hospital.”

On Saturday, a Facebook post honored the young man.

MORE than just an athlete. MORE than just a football player. MORE than just a Mohawk. Hunter was a mentor, a man, a...

Posted by Piggott Mohawk Football on Saturday, August 15, 2020

Midkiff added that the players need to be educated on how to listen to and respond to their bodies.

“The prevention is taught by the coaches but has to be executed by the individual,” Midkiff said. “This happened so fast.”

ER Physician at Piggott Community Hospital Dr. Randy McComb said patients with heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be taken to the hospital for fluids.

Before getting to the hospital, he advised cooling the patient by removing clothing, placing wet towels, and using ice to lower the core body temperature.

“We all want to push ourselves to our maximum level of activity,” he said. “Once you realize you’ve stopped sweating, you’re having cramps, you’re not feeling well, you need to stop and rehydrate and try to cool down to prevent some kind of heat-related illness.”

Region 8 News contacted Superintendent Barry DeHart who released the following statement:

“A high school student had a health emergency yesterday on the football field. Our staff is staying in touch with his parents and getting updates from them. We are all praying for a healthy return.”

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