Did Energy Drinks Kill This Teenage Girl?

Lanna Hamann, a 16-year-old high schooler from Arizona, died suddenly of a heart attack on vacation in Mexico this weekend, and her mom, Kris, believes it was the result of consuming nothing but energy drinks all day. According to friends and family members, Lanna spent all Saturday on the beach drinking energy drinks, but no water. Later that day, she told a friend’s father that she was feeling sick and soon afterward, she went into cardiac arrest.

There seems to be a competitive culture among hardcore fans of energy drinks, especially those of the teenage variety. Guzzling several in a row is sometimes seen as a badge of honor, and so is the sleep deprivation that inspires people to drink so many of them in the first place. I’ve seen so many people joke about how they’ve had 4 energy drinks in a row and how hilarious that is to them. Could this weird culture be part of what caused Lanna’s death? In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated five deaths (and one none-fatal heart attack) that have been linked to energy drinks, and most of us can hardly go a day without hearing rumors of people getting sick from them, so it’s definitely worth considering. At this point, it’s impossible to know for sure, because there’s no proof that the drinks are what did this to her, but that paired with neglecting to drink any water in the hot sun definitely sounds like a recipe for disaster (and dehydration).

Lanna was also a star softball player, and her mom feels that her death could have played out exactly the same way if she had been, say, drinking the energy drinks at softball practice in Arizona. Unfortunately, the fact that it took place outside the country has made things tougher on her family. Complications with her birth certificate made it difficult to bring her body back to the US for burial, and the family raised $13,000 with the help of loved to make it happen.

Lanna’s mom is now warning parents to pay very close attention to their own kids, and told Arizona news station KPHO that she hopes other parents will “[Watch] what they’re drinking and [make sure] they’re drinking water instead of an energy drink.”

Whether the drinks are at fault or not, I’m freaked out enough that I’ll be avoiding Red Bull for the next while! I hope Lanna’s family is able to find the answers they need.

[Scallywag & Vagabond]