Football Player Death

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A forensic pathologist's report has found that a Western Kentucky high school football player died of complications from a pre-existing heart condition with heat likely a "significant contributing factor."

Sixteen-year-old Ryan Owens collapsed following a morning practice at Henderson County High on July 19, 2006. He died shortly thereafter at Methodist Hospital in Henderson.

The Gleaner of Henderson reports that Owens suffered from a heart condition called myxoid degeneration of the mitral valve.

Henderson County Coroner Bobbie Cantley announced at a news conference yesterday that the report also said findings were "suggestive of heat-related illness."

Owens had been on the field for about 80 minutes when practice broke around 9:20 a.m.

School officials said players were wearing helmets and shoulder pads during the practice. According to the National Weather Service in Paducah, the temperature in Henderson at 9 a.m. on July 19, 2006, was 82 degrees with 79 percent humidity, making it feel like 88 degrees.