Thursday, August 2
Stringer's body slowly gave out through the day

MANKATO, Minn. -- At times it looked to doctors like Korey Stringer's condition was improving. But something always happened to make them worse.

As an ambulance rushed the Minnesota Vikings' 335-pound right tackle to the hospital on Tuesday, physicians weren't able to get a blood pressure. Nor was Stringer conscious. Doctors quickly saw he was in shock and showing obvious heatstroke symptoms. His temperature was a frightening 108.8 Fahrenheit.

Trust fund for Kodie Stringer
The NFL Players Association will create a trust fund to help pay for the education and living expenses of Kodie Stringer, the 3-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings lineman Korey Stringer, who died Wednesday from heatstroke complications.

The union has created similar trust funds for the surviving children of players who died while still active in the NFL, including San Diego running back Rodney Culver, Kansas City running back Joe Delaney and Miami linebacker Larry Gordon.

"The trust we have created will hopefully provide some support to Kodie in trying to cope with the terrible loss of his father. Our prayers are with Kodie, Korey's wife, Kelci, and the rest of the family," said Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFLPA.

"When the temperature is that high, there is an 80 percent mortality rate," said Dr. David Knowles, a Mankato physician who coordinates Vikings medical care when the team is at training camp here.

The first plan was to bring Stringer's body temperature down. He was dipped into tubs of icy water. Towels were dipped in the water and then draped over his body and wadded up and tucked under places like his armpits.

As the day moved on, as many as 15 physicians -- including cardiologists, a pulmonologist, a critical-care physician and a kidney specialist -- were working on Stringer, Knowles said.

The Pro-Bowl offensive tackle appeared to make progress, but during the evening he developed a heatstroke-related bleeding condition that prevents the blood from clotting, Knowles said.

Stringer began to bleed from his orifices and from the places where needles were. He responded well to treatment for the condition, but then his kidneys began to fail.

He was put on dialysis twice and physicians once again felt he was making progress. But then it was if his organs began to give up, Knowles said.

He needed help breathing and was put on a respirator. And then at 10 p.m., his heart began to fail.

"We thought we had turned a corner, but then his heart gave out and there was nothing we could do," Knowles said.

Stringer was pronounced dead at 1:50 a.m.

"The people at the hospital, they did the most unbelievable job to try to recapture his life," Vikings receiver Cris Carter said at a news conference Wednesday. "There are just certain forces in nature you just can't change."

Experts said Stringer's size worked against him. His body generated tremendous amounts of heat, Robert Serfass, a kinesiologist at the University of Minnesota, said. Seventy-five to 80 percent of the energy produced by Stringer's workout would have turned into heat, which had nowhere to go.

And it was unlikely he could have drank enough to replace the liters of water he lost through sweat.

Knowles defended the team's decision to allow Stringer to practice Tuesday even though Stringer was held out of practice Monday afternoon because of the stifling heat.

"Before people rush to judgment on this, I hope they realize that we've had countless cases of players suffering heat cramps or heat exhaustion one day then performing well and with no adverse effects the next," he said.

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