Trainer reacts to Savannah Hardin's death - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Trainer reacts to Savannah Hardin's death


Investigators say Savannah Hardin had a seizure after being forced to run three hours.

Savannah's death raises the question, "How much exertion is too much for a child?

Director of Sports Training at Sports Medicine and Fitness Institute, Todd Polhemus, says every child reacts differently when it comes to fitness.

"It really individually should be tailor-made," said Polhemus.

When he first heard about the potential cause of death of 9-year-old Savannah, he said, "There's no reason to do something like that in that nature." At 65 pounds, Polhemus says Savannah's weight is not alarming.

It's the physical exertion investigators say her grandmother allegedly put her body through.

"Low potassium levels. If your sodium levels and that depletes and literally your body has gone into cramps and your entire body can go into cramps including your organs and your heart specifically," said Polhemus.

Gary Lambert's 9-year-old son trains with Polhemus. With a child the same age as Savannah he says when it comes to high level activities, as a guardian you have to realize when it becomes too much.

"You can tell when a child really doesn't want to do something because he's just tired or whatever. But when it gets to the actual, when they're hurting or getting to that point to where it could be dangerous you can see that in them," said Lambert.

For trainers like Polhemus, he's never heard of a case like this.

"It's really pretty rare without any type of pneumonia or something going along with that to throw them into some situation in that sense," said Polhemus.

Court records show Savannah was seeing a doctor once a month. And she saw a urologist in Birmingham every three to six months.

Preliminary reports show Savannah died of dehydration and low sodium levels.

Polhemus says you can spot the beginning of dehydration when a person stops sweating.

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