Last year 14-year-old Anais Fournier did something that many other 14-year-olds do all the time: consume two energy drinks within a 24-hour period. Except last year, after consuming the two Monster energy drinks, Anais went into cardiac arrest and then passed away. Throughout the grief, her family filed a lawsuit against Monster drinks, citing that they played a role in her passing. The reality? She had a pre-existing heart condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and a medical team found no medical evidence that "caffeine toxicity" was a factor in her death. This week, Monster Beverage made these findings public at a press conference in Chicago, saying that they stand by the safety of their drinks.
I can't imagine being Anais' parents. I'm sure they wonder what they could have done differently, if they could have prevented their daughter from getting her hands on those beverages. The fact is if it wasn't those beverages, it could have been something else.
I know. As parents, you want to do every single thing you can to protect your child. You want to help them make good decisions. You want to educate them on what's right and what's wrong, whether it's a simple lesson, like how to match shirts and pants, or something a bit more sticky, like practicing safe sex.
Whether the drinks or her heart condition had anything to do with Anais' increased heart rate, the fact is that this was an accident. I pray that her parents haven't felt like they are to blame. This is genuinely an unexpected event that could have happened to anyone.
Yes, energy drinks can be dangerous. But then again, so can driving in a car, walking across the street, or going for a run. As parents, you can't prepare for everything, but you can do your best to talk to your children about making smart decisions on their journey and pray for the best.
Can you even imagine?
Image via homard.net/Flickr