A 32-year-old former NFL player died of heatstroke Thursday night as a dangerous heat wave with sizzling hot temperatures beginning to sweep across much of the US, prompting heat alerts for more than 200 million people
Mitch Petrus, who played for the New York Giants and won the Super Bowl with the team in 2012, died at a hospital in North Little Rock, Arkansas, after working outside at his family's shop, according to the Pulaski County Coroner
Arkansas, like the country has experienced a warm wave with near record temperatures and unusually high dewpoints that forecasters described Friday as "prolonged, dangerous, and potentially deadly."
The heat index ̵
About 200 million people have been under a heat watch, warning or advisory Friday evening
Heat is one of the leading causes of weather- related deaths in the US. More than 600 people are killed each year by extreme heat, according to the CDC. Heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heatstroke, occur when the body overheats and can not cool itself down.
If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress into heatstroke, a severe and life-threatening condition. A core body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit is the main sign of heatstroke. A severe headache, confusion, dry skin, and a rapid heart rate are also common symptoms
"Race day temperature" and humidity levels are projected to reach extreme levels, "the organizers said in a statement Thursday. "After exhausting all the options to mitigate athletes, volunteers, spectators and staff exposure alike, we are unable to provide either a safe event experience or an alternate race weekend."
New York City officials also canceled OZY fest, a weekend outdoor festival in Chicago, and the 5K race scheduled for Saturday was canceled according to the Chicago Fire Department