Treatment and prevention of heatstroke in football has improved dramatically since Korey Stringer’s death
Minnesota Vikings OL Korey Stringer’s death from heat stroke has led to significant changes in treatment and prevention
At the dawn of the football civilization, grills were considered battlefields. The game was a murderous and horrific bedrock of chaos where players died from crushed skulls, spinal injuries, and pierced hearts. A beginning Harvard and the Yale clash (1894) was so violent that it was labeled “the bloodbath at Hampden Park.”
Obviously, in the days of the dinosaurs, reliable protective gear was a long way off. When it has spread and slowly made its way to the fancy device it is in the 2020s, injuries still occur. Generally, they are regarded as an inevitable consequence of the practice of a contact sport. Although mitigated by the sophisticated armor of modern times, there is still no certainty of prevention.
Perhaps lost in the current discussions of football’s risks, which typically focus on concussions and concussion protocol, is a less obvious but poignant reality of another scourge, which has caused more deaths for players. of football every year than any injury: exertional heatstroke. Unlike physical injuries, for which there is no certainty of prevention, heat stroke is “100% preventable. “ This is the affirmation of Douglas Casa, CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) and Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut.
In a Sponsored by the NFL online seminar “Prevent and treat heat-related illnesses”, Dr Casa described a protocol to prevent, identify, assess, and treat exertional heat exhaustion, a serious illness characterized by body temperature above 105 degrees, red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating) and signs of central nervous system decline. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, a potentially fatal illness, said Dr Casa, whose doctorate encompasses expertise in stress-related heat-related illnesses and areas related to stress. exercise and hydration.
KSI, whose stated mission is to provide research, education and advocacy to optimize safety and performance – and prevent sudden death in athletes and others who exercise – is the result of a tragic circumstance. Twenty years ago, on August 1, 2001, Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl tackle Korey Stringer succumbed to effort heatstroke in the Vikings training camp. His widow Kelci has dedicated her life to raising awareness and preventing heat stroke, which together with the National Football League, partner companies and University of Connecticut leads to the creation of the Institute.
Much has been learned about the issues of stress-related heat illness since that fateful day. Progress has been made to prevent future incidents, which Dr Casa discussed, but it seems there are miles to go before the idea of everyone getting on the train of awareness, prevention and treatment can be ruled out.
Dr Casa, whose passion for studying exercise heatstroke was sparked by his own incident during a 10k run, argued that the risk of heatstroke is in conditioning. “It’s not the tackle and the physical form of football that is the problem,” he said. Most heat stroke accidents occur within the first three to five days of a new conditioning regimen. Korey Stringer was in that window of training camp when he passed away.
Stringer’s death brought about significant changes in the NFL to avoid any recurrence of heat stroke. The once standard practices of two a day during training camp, for example, are gone. Heat indices and hydration are closely monitored, while proper water breaks are still not only mandatory, but hydration is also always available on demand for players. Medical staff are now better trained to recognize symptoms and respond appropriately. Medical tents on the sidelines for all NFL teams provide 100 and 150 gallon bins for rapid response to heat emergencies.
While the NFL cooking with heat and hydration measurements, which Dr Casas has repeatedly called “avoidableIs lacking in amateur fields.
“It is imperative that medical staff and coaches quickly recognize and initiate appropriate care,” Dr Casa said of heatstroke. Thirteen high school soccer players in the United States died from heatstroke in 2019. “All of them [deaths] was preventable. said Doctor Casa.
Prevention begins with training, where school or team staff are familiar with recognizing and responding to heat exhaustion, the precursor to heat stroke. The first signs include disorientation, wobbling, irritability, dizziness, and emotional instability. If a player exhibits any of these symptoms, Dr Casa said, removal from the activity is imperative and a medical evaluation should be conducted. The assessment includes immersing the victim in cold water to reduce their temperature to 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.44 Celsius) according to a rectal reading, which Dr. Casa recommended due to its greater effectiveness than a reading. oral. Professional protocol can keep this procedure discreet; it’s a matter of life and death, after all.
“You can avoid a lot of hassle and suffering, heartache and lawsuits, long-term medical problems and deaths if you avoid stressful heat stroke in the first place,” added Dr. Casa. “Prevent a [exertional heat stroke] is not difficult to do; in fact, it is quite easy.
To find out more about exertional heatstroke, how to prevent it and what to do in an emergency, consult the Korey Stringer Institute website: https://ksi.uconn.edu.