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UF player in critical condition

Fullback Eraste Autin, 18, collapsed Thursday after a voluntary workout.


© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 22, 2001

Florida freshman football player Eraste Autin remained in critical condition Saturday at UF's Shands hospital in Gainesville after collapsing following a voluntary workout late Thursday afternoon.

The preliminary diagnosis was heat stroke.

Autin, 18, of Lafayette, La., collapsed after a conditioning session and was admitted to Shands at 5:47 p.m. Thursday, athletic department spokesman Leigh Torbin said.

Autin has undergone tests, but at the request of his parents, Dr. David and Joanie Autin, no information is being released by the hospital or the school.

Shands nursing coordinator John Tarayos said on that there is no timetable for recovery in this type of incident.

"He remains in an unchanged critical condition," Tarayos said. "This kind of situation is taken on a very individual basis, so it makes it even more difficult to tell."

The Autins rushed to Gainesville on Friday and Florida coach Steve Spurrier spent much of the day at the hospital.

A 6-foot-2, 250-pound fullback, Autin (whose full name is pronounced AY-ross OH-tan) showed no sign of injury or illness during the workout. He collapsed outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as he and teammates were jogging the nearly 300 yards from UF's practice field to the stadium, where the locker room is located.

Autin, like all incoming freshmen players, was enrolled in Summer B session classes and had been participating in voluntary workouts, which include daily weight training and two conditioning sessions, from 6:30-7:30 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.

Coaches are not allowed to attend voluntary workouts, but the sessions are monitored by members of the UF training staff.

Heat stroke, the most serious of heat-related conditions, is life-threatening. A result of dehydration, it occurs when the body overheats to the point it does not sweat, causing the skin to become dry and hot, the pulse to race and body temperature to soar to 106-112 degrees.

Autin rushed for nearly 700 yards with 12 touchdowns his senior season at St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette. He was ranked among the nation's top five fullback prospects by National Bluechips and was a PrepStar All-American.

Jim Hightower, Autin's high school coach in Lafayette, said Autin did not have a history of health problems.

"Never, not once," Hightower said. "He never missed a day. He was a physical specimen. He was real dedicated, a hard worker and real strong."

Autin was expected to contribute this fall because the team has a lack of depth at fullback. The top returning starter, Rob Roberts of Dade City, is coming off knee surgery.

- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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