A Kansas City firefighter is awake from a coma after suffering a heat stroke, and doctors are trying to determine if energy drinks may have played a part in his condition.
The Kansas City Fire Department says he was participating in a training exercise last Saturday, June 10, when he suffered a heat stroke. He was taken to the hospital and was in a coma until Saturday morning, June 17.
“While we remain concerned, the family, KCFD, and Local 42 are pleased to report that he has made substantial progress and communicating fully with family,” the fire department said. “We are all extremely relieved with his recovery.”
Where it happened and what station he works at is unknown at this time. The fire department said that the firefighter may have consumed some energy drinks.
“Despite monitoring heat conditions and taking regular breaks for hydration, the firefighter collapsed shortly after noon,” the fire department said.
Temperatures last weekend were in the upper 80s and low 90’s. The training exercise was two hours long and “was a routine, hands-on operation utilizing a vacant home that did not involve fire.”
“While this was a routine training exercise, it has caused us to reevaluate our temperature restrictions for outdoor training activity,” the fire department said. “We are actively investigating all aspects of this situation in order to ensure the safety of personnel.”
Dr. Steven Owens, a cardiologist at the University of Kansas Health System, says a young healthy person with a heat-related illness can usually recover with hydration and cooling.
Owens says it is extremely dangerous for older people and people with a chronic illness.
“The caffeine in an energy drink is actually in a little bit of a diuretic. In other words, it actually causes you to lose fluid a little faster than you would otherwise so you are really working against yourself if you’re just trying to stay hydrated with an energy drink,” he said.
Owens says to remember to limit your time in the sun, wear light-colored loose clothes if possible and drink water and sports drinks.
FIREFIGHTERS & ENERGY DRINKS QUICK DRILL – https://www.dropbox.com/s/bm7zzf3hqbbzypp/Quick%20Drill%20Energy%20Drinks.doc?dl=0