Mother warns athletes of heat stroke dangers after painful loss of son

By Marshanna Hester

August 27, 2013 Updated Aug 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM CDT

FARMINGTON, Ill. -- Mother Laura Schmied said her son, Doug, knew why he was in a hospital bed in August 2005.

"He said because I made a bad decision and didn't walk across the field to get water and stay hydrated," she recalled.

The 24-year-old Illinois Wesleyan senior co-captain vowed to his mother he would drink all the water he could when he was released.

However, he never got that chance.

"They said we're sorry to say, there's no hope, your son has no brain activity," Schmied said. "I'm thinking, this has got to be a bad nightmare."

Doug died a few hours after his family took him off life support. He died of organ failure due to heat stroke.

"You know the biggest thing is young men and women at that age think they're invincible," she said. "I just keep driving home the story, you never know, you just never know when it will be your turn to go."

Doug's memory is alive on the field at his Alma Mater at Farmington High, where Coach Casey Martin said safety always takes precedent over the need to be great for a game.

"They're all like sons to me and if something ever happened to them, it would be very hard on me," said Coach Martin.

Practicing under the hot sun means players drink a Gatorade before taking the field.

There is a break every 15 minutes and cold towels and drinks inside nearby coolers.

However, Coach Martin said of utmost importance is the honor system.

"Kids are reluctant to tell you they need a break, so a lot of times it's their buddy and it's not good," said Coach Martin. "I told them this is not the time to be tough, we need you to be honest with us."

Players also know to monitor themselves.

"Everyday after practice we weigh ourselves and replace all the water we lost and stay hydrated at school and as much as we can on breaks," said Hank Skaggs, senior left tackle.

Coach Martin said Laura Schmied's dedication to heat education is saving lives.

However everyday, she is reminded the memories of her son are all she has left to treasure.

Heat Stroke is the third and most dangerous stage of heat-related illnesses.

Medical experts say if your body stops sweating or begins to feel cold seek medical attention immediately.

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