New York City A medical examiner blamed a 17-year-old track star's death on the use of too much anti-inflammatory muscle cream, the kind used to soothe aching legs after exercise.
Arielle Newman, a cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, died after her body absorbed high levels of methyl salicylate, an anti-inflammatory found in sports creams such as Bengay and Icy Hot, the New York City medical examiner said Friday.
The medical examiner's spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove, said the teen used "topical medication to excess." She said it was the first time that her office had reported a death from using a sports cream.
In addition to spreading the muscle cream on her legs between track meets, Newman was using adhesive pads containing the anti-inflammatory, plus an unspecified third product containing the chemical, Borakove said. The products were used and the chemical absorbed over time, rather than from a single instance of overuse, she said.
Newman, who garnered numerous track awards, died April 3. She had gone to a party the night before, then returned home and spent hours talking with her mother.