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Boy wasn’t dressed for gym, so he was told to run, family says. He died amid triple-digit heat

A 12-year-old Lake Elsinore boy died this week after collapsing during P.E. class during a heat wave, according to his family.

Yahshua Robinson, a student at Canyon Lake Middle School, died Tuesday after collapsing while participating in physical education class during triple-digit temperatures, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.

Amarna Plummer told NBC Los Angeles that her nephew wasn’t dressed appropriately for gym class and, as a result, was told to run.

“He was reaching out to the teacher, saying he needed some water. He said he couldn’t breathe. He was telling the kids this,” Plummer told the station.

Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that they went to the school about 11 a.m. after a report of a minor needing medical aid, according to a statement from the department. The child was hospitalized and later pronounced dead. The case is under investigation, and no further information was available Thursday.

Plummer wrote in a GoFundMe page raising money for the boy’s parents that he died from cardiac arrest at the hospital. She attributed his death in part to the “sweltering heat.”

“The void Yahshua leaves behind is profound,” Plummer wrote. “Janae and Eric Robinson and their three other children are trying to come to terms with this devastating reality. The agony of losing a child is indescribable, and as we wait with heavy hearts for the autopsy results, we are reminded of the unpredictability of life.”

The Lake Elsinore Unified School District confirmed Robinson’s death in a statement, adding that grief counseling and resources were available to students and staff.

“In this difficult moment, we are deeply saddened to confirm the passing of one of our students due to a medical emergency on one of our LEUSD campuses,” the statement said. “Our hearts are with the family, friends, and our school community.”

Although Yahshua’s cause of death is still pending, experts with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency note that children are more susceptible to the dangers of heat-related illness than the average adult. Their smaller ratio of body mass to surface area puts them at greater risk for heat-related death.

Children are also more likely to become dehydrated than adults because they lose fluids at a faster rate, experts say.

Signs of heatstroke include flushed skin, deep breathing, little or no sweating, dizziness, fatigue, headache or loss of consciousness. If a child has suffered a heatstroke, they should be placed in a cool environment and in a bath of cool water. They should be given medical attention or taken to a doctor as soon as possible.

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