Doctor Says Loss of Sodium Claimed Football Player's Life

Walker Wilbanks
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Jackson, Miss.

The physician who treated Jackson Prep football player Walker Wilbanks says the 17-year-old died of a severe loss of sodium that caused water to build up on his brain.

Dr. Joe Pressler of the University of Mississippi Medical Center says the sodium-water imbalance caused Wilbanks' brain to swell, which led to his death.

Pressler told The Clarion ledger the loss of sodium was caused by Wilbanks' sweating during a game Friday night.

The junior guard and defensive tackle lost more sodium than was being replenished as he tried to rehydrate on the sidelines. As sodium levels dropped, water shifted from Wilbanks' blood to his brain.

Wilbanks was taken from the game and hospitalized. He died Monday.