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A South Texas middle school football player died following a severe allergic reaction to fire ant bites received while warming up for a football game, officials said Tuesday. The boy, Cameron Espinosa, was 12-years-old.
On Sept. 11, Espinosa was warming up for a game and was bit by several fire ants. He had tried to use a water bottle to wash them off, but he lost consciousness, Lorette Williams, spokeswoman for the Corpus Christi Independent School District, said, reports The Associated Press.
He had been in the hospital since Sept. 11 in critical condition until he died on Monday, Williams confirmed. He attended Paul R. Haas Middle School and was in the eighth grade.
In Texas, medical crews are only required for high school varsity football games, but the coaches are still trained in CPR and know how to use a defibrillator, which was used at the scene.
According to The New York Daily News, Espinoza was initially advised by a coach to use the water bottle to get the ants off. “But then, as coach kept talking and trying to lead the team, that's when he started with the grimacing and like yelling out in pain. It was obvious he was in pain,” Principal Lynda Ann De Leon told KTV 10.
Williams said that the school didn't know he was allergic to ants.
To pay tribute to Espinoza, teachers and students began wearing green and white ribbons with his number, 66, Williams told the AP. KTV 10 reported that the school held a rally and prayer session.