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Too Much Of A Good Thing Can be Deadly

Update Date: Sep 06, 2014 04:32 PM EDT

The recent deaths of two high school football players underscore the danger faced by athletes if they drink too much water or too many sports drinks, according to a new study. 

The reasons of players' death was exercise-associated hyponatremia, which occurs when athletes drink lots of fluids even when they're not thirsty. 

Too much fluid intake causes cells to swell with water, resulting in muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness and even death, the press release added.

According to the study published, a high school football player in Georgia reportedly drank 2 gallons of water and 2 gallons of sports drink during practice. He later collapsed at home and died in the hospital. 

Researchers mentioned that hyponatremia has been confirmed or suspected in more than a dozen runner's deaths in last few years. 

Many coaches encourage athletes to drink before they get thirsty, but experts recommend that athletes drink only when thirsty, said study author Dr. James Winger, a sports medicine physician at Loyola University Medical Center, said in the press release.

"While drinking only when thirsty can cause mild dehydration, the risks associated with dehydration are small," Winger said in a Loyola news release.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. 

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