Former NFL offensive lineman Mitch Petrus died Thursday night in Arkansas due to heatstroke, officials said. The former Super Bowl champion was 32 years old. Petrus fell ill Thursday evening after working outside at his parents’ shop in Lonoke County, Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs said. He was taken to Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock just before 9 p.m. and was pronounced dead just before midnight, Hobbs said. Temperatures in the area reached 92 degrees during the day, and a heat advisory was in effect in Arkansas when Petrus became ill. When the body’s temperature rises faster than it can cool down, “heatstroke” occurs, potentially damaging the brain and other vital organs.
Generally, people who work outside or exercise a lot are more acclimated to the heat and therefore less likely to succumb to illness. That said, anyone exposed to hot weather for too long can become sick. Along with becoming acclimated to the weather, a person who wishes to avoid heatstroke can wear loose-fitting clothing while in the sun, drink plenty of water and take it easy during the hottest part of the day.