Healthy teenager dies from heart attack after too much caffeine

Davis Cripe (Family Photo)

A South Carolina teenager's death has been linked to an overdose, of caffeine. Davis Cripe, a high school student, collapsed last month after drinking too many caffeine-based drinks.

On Monday, local officials and Cripe's father addressed the media about the potential dangers from caffeine. Cripe's parents and friends say he was health and happy. An aspiring rock drummer, full of his own natural energy, who had no use for drugs or alcohol.

The 16-year-old was okay with caffeine. Not aware that too much of it could be dangerous. On April 26, students say Davis downed a McDonald's latte, a diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink, all within two hours.

He collapsed in a classroom and doctors at Palmetto Health Parkridge could not save him.

"Now the purpose here today is not to slam Mountain Dew, it's not to slam cafe lattes, it's not to slam energy drinks," said Gary Watts, Richland County Coroner. "But what we want to do today is make people understand that these drinks and this amount of caffeine and how it's ingested can have dire consequences. And that's what happened in this case."

"I stand before you as a broken-hearted father and hope that something good can come from this," said Sean Cripe. "Parents please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. And teenagers and students please stop using them. There's no reason to consume them. They can be very dangerous."

Davis Cripe's death is listed as the result of a "caffeine-induced cardiac event." Doctors also note that many energy drinks contain not only caffeine, but significant amounts of other stimulants, Ginseng and Guarana for example. Guarana is a seed found in the Amazon that can contain twice as much caffeine as a coffee bean.

"I think any kind of stimulant that is causing the heart to beat faster and is stimulating the heart can add to the effect," said pathologist Dr. Amy Durso.

Information Davis' parents want to pass on as they mourn their loss.

"Davis was a great kid and being his parents was a great honor to Heidi and me. He had a personality larger than life. And a heart of gold," said Sean Cripe.

Medical experts note that caffeine affects everyone differently. Longtime users might have greater tolerance. They also say while energy drinks can contain all kinds of ingredients, it's the caffeine that carries the most risk.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off