June 2021 - 22

Keeping an Eagle Eye
Throughout practice, coaches, athletic trainers, and
the student-athletes themselves should be alert for the
early signs of heat exhaustion, like lightheadedness,
cramping, stumbling, stomach aches, disorientation,
confusion, and vomiting.
It's important to review these symptoms with teams at
the start of every season so they can recognize them in
themselves or their teammates.
" With our kids, we've been preaching this for the last 10
years or so, " Schwartz says. " They've been hearing about
signs and symptoms since they were in middle school. "
It's important to keep an eye out for athletes who haven't
eaten properly during the day with Schwartz noting his
two cases last year stemmed from not eating lunch.
How To Treat
The first four steps should always happen. Everyone
hopes this fifth one never does, but preparation is key.
The most important thing to remember is to listen to the
athletic trainer or other medical personnel on the scene.
When a student-athlete begins displaying signs of heat
illness, they should first be removed to a cooler area, in
the shade. Air conditioning is best. Vitals should be taken,
including heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. The
extreme zone starts when internal temperatures exceed
102 degrees, Berry and Schwartz agreed.
While emergency services should be alerted
immediately, and IVs can help with hydration and blood
pressure, it's important to first cool the overheating
athlete before transporting.
" I'm a paramedic myself and it's amazing how many
don't understand you cool first and transport later, "
Schwartz says. " This is not a load-and-go situation,
at all. "
Schwartz continued by saying, " I can tell when a
kid is going from heat illness to heatstroke. " They will
cognitively change. They will be out of it, not know where
they are, become combative. You put them in cool water
and they'll become more lucid and start communicating
again. ... As they become more lucid and more aware of
surroundings, that's a good indicator their body temp
has dropped. "
Once body temperature has dropped below 102
degrees, it is safe to transport to a hospital.
How to measure that is a dicey topic. The gold standard,
according to KSI, is a rectal temperature. But that doesn't
always fly with school administrators, nor parents.
" It is best practice, " Berry says, noting the next-best
option is under the tongue. " From the athletic trainer's
perspective, it's highly recommended. That's a battle each
school district will have to look at. I certainly understand
the sensitivity, but you're talking about a medical
professional in a controlled situation. "
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June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2021

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