An eighth grade football player dies after a rare attack from ant bites during a game last week, the school announced Monday. Cameron Espinosa, 13, had a severe allergic reaction during a halftime huddle last Wednesday night at Haas Middle School.
“He was standing there on the sidelines and just started yelling ‘Ants! Ants!” Lorette Williams, director of communications for the school district, told the Daily News.
Espinosa lost consciousness twice before medics arrived and was rushed to a nearby hospital, witnesses said. Espinosa was in critical condition for several days and his mother kept the community up to speed with his condition via Facebook posts. However, before school began Monday morning, Haas Middle School in Corpus Christi, Texas announced his death and held a moment of silence.
“The District will do all we can in support of the student’s family and the entire Haas school community during this sad time,” the Corpus Christi Independent School District said in a statement.
Haas Middle School cancelled all extracurricular and athletic events for the rest of the week. Grief counseling will be provided for students and staff as needed.
Few, if any, understood the severity of the attack when it first occurred during a halftime huddle.
The coach reportedly told Espinosa to “get a water bottle and spray yourself off” until the child started writhing in pain and screaming, Principal Lynda Ann De Leon told CBS-affiliate KZTV.
Board member Hector Salina said he was outraged when he surveyed the football field to find more than 20 ant piles. He thinks the coaches should have taken notice before letting the students play on the field.
“If in fact the coaches there knew that there was a problem with ants before… Then you know what? It should have been taken care of,” he told local station KRIS-TV.
Driscoll Children’s Hospital confirmed Espinosa’s death but was unable to provide further information.