Caffeine blamed in South Carolina teen's death - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Caffeine blamed in South Carolina teen's death

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Davis Cripe was a high school sophomore who found his rhythm while playing the drums.

"He was a great kid, he didn't get mixed up in the wrong things. He loved music," dad Sean Cripe said. "We worry about their safety, their health-- especially since they start driving-- but it wasn't a car crash that took his life, instead it was an energy drink."

The 16-year-old South Carolina boy collapsed during class last month and died at a hospital. While his initial autopsy required more testing, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said the teen consumed a large soft drink, a latte and then an energy drink in less than two hours, bringing on what he called a cardiac event.

"These drinks, this amount of caffeine, how it's ingested can have dire consequences. And that's what happened in this case," Watts said.

"You know it when it happens. You start to feel dizzy. You can feel it in your chest," said Dr. David Agus, a CBS News medical contributor.

Agus says energy drinks send more than 20,000 people to the emergency room annually.

"The problem that we're learning is it's not just caffeine. It's the other stimulants that are in there," Agus said. "A cup of coffee you may have over 45 minutes or 60 minutes. These energy drinks you're having all at once. And so all the caffeine give this big peak in the body and that's when bad things happen."

Sean Cripe says the tragic way his son lost his life could be someone else's lifesaver.

"Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks," Cripe implored.

The coroner said Davis Cripe's autopsy showed no signs of an undiagnosed heart condition. The American Beverage Association, which represents the makers of almost all energy drinks sold in America, did not return a request for comment. The trade group says their energy drinks can be safely consumed in moderation.

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