AUBURN, Ala. -- An autopsy report shows Auburn University fullback Greg Pratt died of heat stroke, but officials say the conditioning drills he ran before he collapsed were 'coincidental' to his death.
Pratt, 20, of Albany, Ga., needed the aid of a teammate to finish the last of four 440-yard timed sprints in 96 degree heat Saturday. He later collapsed in the Tiger dressing room and was taken to the East Alabama Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 2:35 p.m.
'I am ruling the cause of death was found to be a heat stroke. The manner of death is accidental,' said Lee County Coroner Jon Williams. He said the relationship between the sprints and the death was 'coincidental.
'In my personal and professional opinion, this kind of accident could have occurred at any time strenuous activity was involved, even cutting grass. What happened on the Auburn practice field Saturday morning could have happened anywhere,' he said.
Early reports indicated Pratt died of a heart attack, but Williams said an autopsy by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences confirmed the cardiac arrest resulted from heat stroke.
Williams said there were no traces of drugs, alcohol or any other foreign substances in the body and the autopsy showed no indications of heart disease.
The conditioning tests began about 11:30 a.m. Saturday in sweltering heat. Auburn Coach Pat Dye said he would 'discuss' changing the time of the conditioning tests with his staff, but they would continue to hold afternoon practices.
'When you live in the South and play football, you are going to play in the heat. It is just a way of life,' Dye said.
He said a doctor would probably be on the field for conditioning tests next year and if a player appeared to be bothered by the heat 'we would watch him closer.'
Pratt, a 5-8, 211-pound junior, had a history of weight problems and was taken to the hospital with heat exhaustion after attempting to run the same tests last year.
Dye said the team's practice Monday was 'a little quieter than normal and kind of businesslike. There was not a lot of avid enthusiasm.
'We will have to live with it. Being a Christian, I have to live on faith. This is something that has happened and we would all go back and change it if we could.'