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Doctors investigate what role energy drinks played in firefighter’s heat stroke resulting in coma

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Doctors in Kansas City are working to determine whether an energy drink may have played a role in a firefighter’s heat stroke, which resulted in a coma. 

According to KCTV, the firefighter was taking part in a training exercise on June 10th when he suffered from heat stroke. He was taken to the hospital and was in a coma until Saturday, June 17th.

“While we remain concerned, the family, KCFD, and Local 42 are pleased to report that he has made substantial progress and is communicating fully with family. We are all extremely relieved with his recovery,” fire officials said.

Fire officials said the firefighter may have consumed some energy drinks.

“Despite monitoring heat conditions and taking regular breaks for hydration, the firefighter collapsed shortly after noon,” fire officials said.

According to KCTV, temperatures were in the upper 80s and low 90s at the time of the training exercise, which was two hours long — described by fire officials as “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. We are actively investigating all aspects of this situation in order to ensure the safety of personnel,” fire officials told KCTV.

Dr. Steven Owens, a cardiologist at the University of Kansas Health System told KCTV a young, healthy person with a heat-related illness can usually recover with hydration and cooling.

Owens said 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 said to remember to limit your time in the sun, wear light-colored, loose clothes if possible and drink water and sports drinks.