Six Oklahoma high school football players developed a mysterious illness during a game and three had to be rushed to the hospital.
"We thought the first one had a concussion because it happened as we were coming off the field," Owasso High School Athletic Director Zach Duffield told KTUL. "He was walking fine and then all of a sudden it hit him."
According to reports, the Owasso Rams were playing out of town in Mustang, Oklahoma, when players began passing out.
A total of six players became ill.
"It didn't make sense, the way it all happened," Duffield said.
Doctors officially diagnosed the players with dehydration, but Duffield finds that unusual given it is only mid-season and the players were drinking water.
"We don't know if it is something that happened here, on the way down there or while we were already at Mustang,” Duffield said.
Of the 170 people who were fed on the way to the game, only the players fell ill.
The players did drink water from a hydrant on the sideline of the Mustang’s field. They also used borrowed water bottles from the Mustang team at the game, The Inquisitr reports.
But all of the tests performed came back clean.
"We have considered everything," Duffield told KTUL. "We have checked with vendors, our suppliers. We have had them run tests. We have asked Mustang to run tests on their water in the locker room. We don't want this to happen again, to any kid."
Duffield plans to have his team bring their own water to out-of-town games, and they will be improving cleaning protocols to ensure germs are not making the players sick from water bottles and ice buckets.
Another possible culprit is arsenic. The City of Mustang has been cited for exceptionally high levels of arsenic in their water in the past, The Inquisitr reports. The most recent citation occurred in March 2014.
Mustang City Manager Tim Rooney said the arsenic levels were not a cause for concern, and that it is an unlikely culprit in the players’ illness, but crews are taking readings every day. The city is considering buying “an arsenic removal system that removes the arsenic at the well site, rather than continuing to buy extra water from Oklahoma City.”
Whether the players fell ill from dehydration or something else remains a mystery, but they have all since recovered.