A Staten Island teenager who died after collapsing during varsity football practice last month died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood, the medical examiner said Tuesday.
Miles Kirkland, a 16-year-old junior at Curtis High School, collapsed during practice Sept.1 and was pronounced dead at a hospital. A teammate said he had been going to get water when he fell.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often goes undiagnosed because those afflicted with it rarely have symptoms. Sometimes it can cause shortness of breath as the heart struggles to pump blood throughout the body. It's a common cause of cardiac arrest in young people.
The medical examiner said obesity was a contributing factor to his death; the heat was not. His death was ruled natural.
Kirkland, who was 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 295 pounds, played as an offensive and defensive lineman, according to a scouting report for the upcoming season obtained by the Staten Island Advance.