June 2021 - 20

5 TIPS TO FREEZE
HEAT-RELATED ILLNESSES
By Brendan Kurie, contributing writer
Two decades after the tragic training camp death of
Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl offensive lineman Korey
Stringer, prevailing attitudes toward heat illness have
shifted dramatically.
But even 11 years after the Korey Stringer Institute
was formed to provide research, education, and advocacy,
heat illness remains an issue where vigilance and
preparedness are the best forms of prevention.
" When I first started, water breaks and checking wetbulb
temperatures were non-existent, " says Eric Schwartz,
a licensed athletic trainer at Washington Township High
School in New Jersey with 20-plus years of experience. " It
was macho not to have a water break. More recently, two-adays
were quite prevalent and you would go 4-5 hours, then a
short break for lunch, then another 4-5 hours in the middle of
August. We just know better now. That's not appropriate. "
Despite the strides made in educating trainers,
coaches, athletic directors, administrators, and athletes
on the dangers of overheating, 11 football players died in
the United States in the past five years from heatstroke,
according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports
Injury Research. Seventy have died since 1995.
" We know what the research says and many of those
situations in the news, it's preventable when you take the
proper precautions, " Schwartz says. " It's so preventable,
and it's so sad that you see these things happening. "
Here are five steps to ensure you're doing all you can to
prevent heat-related illness.
Have an Action Plan
Developing an Emergency Action Plan, or EAP, is the
crucial first step.
" That's where you start, " says Jim Berry, a licensed
athletic trainer at Conway High School in South Carolina.
" If you don't have that in place, everything else is moot. "
Building a plan takes participation and teamwork from
administration, athletic directors, coaches, trainers, and
local EMS.
When developing your action plan, be specific. Cover
every conceivable scenario. Ensure your plan includes a
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20 JUNE 2021
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June 2021

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