A South Carolina coroner is warning about the dangers of excessive caffeine consumption after a 16-year-old student was pronounced dead from a caffeine overdose. Davis Allen Cripe, 16, died after collapsing at Spring Hill High School. While the cause of death was originally unknown, coroner Gary Watts has officially ruled that the teen died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event. Furthermore, Watts says there was no indication that the teen suffered from an diagnosed heart condition, rather the death stemmed entirely from excessive caffeine intake. So how much caffeine did Cripe ingest before his death? Probably not as much as you would think.
NBC News reported that the death of a 16-year-old student last month in South Carolina has officially been deemed a caffeine overdose. Richland County coroner Gary Watts spoke at a news conference regarding the teens death noting that drinks that contain excessive caffeine can be dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that the coroner is now warning his friends and family about their potentially deadly consequences.
— AJC (@ajc) May 15, 2017
Watts says that the teen had no signs of a preexisting, undiagnosed heart issue that would have contributed to his death. Rather, the coroner says the teens death was entirely attributed to the excessive consumption of caffeine which lead to heart arrhythmia and ultimately death.
“The autopsy was performed and there was nothing there to indicate any type of… undiagnosed heart condition.”
So how much caffeine did Cripe ingest? Watts says that the teen had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a Cafe Latte from McDonalds, and a popular energy drink, which led to his death. The teen had consumed the three beverages in a two hour period before his death, which Watts says caused the deadly caffeine overdose. Based on Cripe’s weight, Watts says the amount of caffeine consumed was above what is considered a “safe limit.”
— Oxygene Mag (@oxymagazine) May 15, 2017
The coroner says he knows the topic is controversial as people tend to downplay the significant dangers of caffeine. Watts says his intention is not to bash particular suppliers of caffeine-laden products, but instead to help educate the public on very real safety concerns.
“There are are obviously people that don’t think this can happen — that you can have this arrhythmia caused by caffeine. The purpose here today is not to slam Mountain Dew, not to slam cafe lattes, or energy drinks. But what we want to do is to make people understand that these drinks — this amount of caffeine, how it’s ingested, can have dire consequences. And that’s what happened in this case.”
So how much caffeine is too much? Healthline reported that the recommended daily caffeine limit should not exceed 400 mg for a healthy adult. This guideline is the recommendation of the USDA and is held as the standard for most medical professionals. However, guidelines for children and teens are much more limited. The Mayo Clinic recommends no more than 100 mg a day and that it should be highly limited.
For a healthy adult that can consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day, exactly how many energy drinks, sodas or Cafe Lattes would put them over the edge? Each 12 ounces of Mountain Dew contains 54 mg of caffeine, so a large 32 ounce Mountain Dew would contain 144 mg of caffeine. A large McDonald’s latte reportedly contains approximately 178 mg of caffeine and energy drinks range from 72 to 111 mg of caffeine per serving. Therefore, by drinking just three highly caffeinated beverages, Cripe could have easily consumed well over the daily limit of 400 mg in just two hours, leading to a caffeine overdose.
With energy drinks and energy tablets (which can contain upwards of 200 mg of caffeine) becoming more popular, Davis Allen Cripe’s father is hoping that his son’s death can help save others by bringing awareness to the dangers of excessive caffeine consumption.
“It wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink. Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks.”
[Featured Image by Shutterstock]