Jan 29, 2015
Tackling Heat Illness

The final day of the Convention will include a peer-to-peer discussion about the management of heat illness with topic expert Doug Casa, PhD, ATC, FACSM, Director of Athletic Training Education and a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. Make sure you keep an eye open for the July/August issue of T&C, which contains an article from the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn. Until then, here are some of the top tips T&C has compiled for helping athletes beat the heat.

“Athletes need structured acclimatization. You can’t just start practicing two or three times a day in August, because players’ bodies are not ready for that. The acclimatization process will be different in different areas of the country. Kids in Florida, who live in 90-degree heat all the time, are much more acclimated to that weather than a kid in the northeast who only sees those conditions for two months out of the year.”
–Sandra Fowkes-Godek, PhD, ATC, a Professor and the Medical Coordinator for the Department of Sports Medicine at West Chester University

“There needs to be an immediate cooling mechanism on the field. You can’t rely on having players take off their equipment and sit in the shade. We have a tarp that you can find at any hardware store for a few bucks. When we need it, we unfold it, have the kid lie down with his equipment off, have a few coaches gather up the ends, and pour ice water on him so he is submerged. It’s not a fancy cooling tub, but we don’t have to fill it and clean it out every day and it has the same effect.”
–Jon Almquist, ATC, Athletic Training Program Administrator for Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools

“Coaches care most about performance, so I’ve found it works best to explain that their athletes will perform better if they’re cool, hydrated, and able to recover between sessions. The athletic trainer has to get and keep the respect of coaches by allowing them to work their butts off trying to win the state championship, but also by keeping their athletes safe along the way.”
–Doug Casa

“There is a lot of new research about carrying the sickle cell trait and its connection to heat illness. Screening for sickle cell trait at birth is required across the U.S., but in a recent survey, only 37 percent of parents with a child who has it reported they were told of a positive test. Overall, the rate of athletes with sickle cell trait who don’t know they have it is extremely high. Of the 21 football players we found to have sickle cell trait through screening here at Oklahoma, only two of them knew they carried it.”
–Scott Anderson, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Oklahoma

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