A 17-year-old high school football player from Douglas County, Georgia died on Monday of overhydration. The teen, Zyrees Oliver, had been on life support for almost a week.
Oliver’s tragic death can be traced back to last Tuesday, when he drank four gallons of fluids to prevent chronic cramping and migraines he was suffering from. WSBTV reports that Oliver drank two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatorade. The next morning, his brain started to swell severely.
Oliver was rushed to the hospital, but the damage was already done. The massive swelling damaged his brain irreparably, and he was placed on life support. On Monday, his family made the heartbreaking decision to let him go.
“It’s incomprehensible,” aunt Nina Oliver told WSBTV. “We had a healthy, beautiful, vibrant young man.”
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Zyrees was an honor roll student with ambitions of playing college football. Coaches and friends touted him as a natural leader who, despite arriving at Douglas County High School just one year ago, was loved and respected by everyone around him.
“Zyrees was part of the Tiger Family since the end of his sophomore year, but during that short time he touched many lives,” Principal Tim Scott said in a statement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Zyrees was a blessing to his football and track teammates, his classmates, coaches and our school staff.”
Zyrees’s family says he had been dealing with a number of medical issues in recent months, including cramping, migraines, and dehydration. Family members say Zyrees likely drank the enormous amount of fluids to relieve his ailments, but failed to realize that it’s possible to over-hydrate yourself.
“You think with dehydration, the more water you give, the better you're making it. No, not in all cases,” said Zyrees’s aunt Tammy Chavis.
The Oliver family is originally from New Jersey and hopes to have Zyrees’s body flown there for his funeral. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay the transportation and burial expenses.