Mom creates heat stroke awareness campaign after teen son's hiking death

A Fort Worth mom is honoring the memory of her 15-year-old son with a heat stroke awareness campaign.

Reid Comita died due to the heat following a Boy Scout hike and the incident led to a lawsuit that has now been settled.

The boy's parents aren't allowed to talk about the terms of the settlement. But with summer fast approaching, his mother did want to warn others about how quickly heat can lead to the death of a healthy child.

“It's nice to be able talk about him without crying,” mother Copper Comita said. “I spent the first year and a half crying.”

Comita never could have predicted that a summer camping trip in 2017 would end in his death at just 15 years old.

“He was 6-foot 1 and a quarter, hazel eyes, dark brown hair, gave the best hugs, gentle, kind,” Comita said.

Camping was the final merit badge Reid needed to earn to become an Eagle Scout.

“Heat stroke can affect anybody put in a position of excessive heat,” Comita said.

According to court records, Reid collapsed in the late afternoon after hiking seven miles over several hours at a West Texas scouting ranch with a heavy backpack.

The lawsuit says only one 18-year-old leader was with Reid and another boy on the hike, despite BSA's safety rules that require two adults on a hike. BSA filed a court response denying the allegations of negligence before settling with Reid's family.

“Heat stroke can be preventable in more cases than not. But once you cross that threshold from heat exhaustion to heat stroke it is very hard to come back from,” Comita said.

The temperature the day of Reid's hike was 99, with a heat index above 100.

“You can quickly go from a head ache, stomach ache, profusely sweating, to extreme nausea vomiting, no sweating, confusion,” Comita said.

Reid was already approved for his Eagle Scout project -- to build a playhouse at an apartment community for women and children. Fellow scouts completed the project in his honor.

Now his mother, who says her son wanted to teach music or be a pediatrician, is promoting a heat health message.

“Morning you start isn't when you hydrate. Hydrate a few days ahead of time,” Comita said, adding that she is interested in speaking opportunities about heat stroke if the opportunity arises.

Reid’s parents are now taking the steps for him to be posthumously recognized as an Eagle Scout.