Heat IllnessPreventionSecondary School

South Carolina Athletic Trainer Taking Care of Kids in the Heat


Article reposted from The Press and Standard
Author: Cindy Crosby

In case you haven’t noticed — it is hot! With participation in outdoor fall sports beginning, schools and coaching staffs are taking extra precautions to keep their athletes safe from heat-related issues. In recent visits to both area high schools, coaches and staff members were following strict guidelines to help ensure the safety of their players.
According to the National Weather Service, heat is a leading weather-related issue in the United States that results in fatalities or illnesses. With heat advisories popping up throughout the state, it is important to monitor the heat index, a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored together with the actual air temperature. During extremely hot and humid weather, the body’s ability to cool itself is challenged, which can result in heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke.
Cortney Bowers, certified athletic trainer for Colleton County High School, is cranked up for football season – meaning she’s on-duty during practice to help ensure the players’ safety. According to Bowers, South Carolina does not have actual heat regulations, but most athletic trainers within the state use a work/rest/water and continuous work/water consumption guideline made available by Fort Jackson.
“The guidelines are a way for us to categorize the temperature-vs.-work ratio to gauge when we should stop practice due to temperatures,” explained Bowers. “Athletes often don’t realize the toll heat takes on their bodies until they are suffering from a heat-related condition. As temps hit the high notes, I hit the water bottles and get out the Kestrel,” said Bowers. “The Kestrel is a dry-bulb/wet-bulb globe thermometer which measures temperature, humidity and heat index. It will work standing in the middle of a football field.”
Bowers is also charged with helping keep the players hydrated during practice. “I try to keep every player as hydrated as possible throughout practice, with plenty of water on the practice field,” said Bowers. “I have 18-20 sets of water bottles, so each coach has two sets of their own in groups. I have two 20-gallon water boys that I use on opposite sides of the practice field. The linemen, who tend to be bigger, have 4-to-5 sets of bottles and a 20-gallon water boy to help keep them hydrated. Last year, we had a continuous feed water boy purchased for us, which enables me to put ice in the chest and plug it up to a water hose for a continuous flow. On standby, I have 7-8 ten-gallon coolers filled with just ice to replenish the smaller water boys as needed and keep a seven-gallon cooler with towels, ice, water and ice bags in it for emergency.”
The Cougars will go full gear on Wednesday, which means

Bowers will be going a step further in her preparation. “Once we put pads on, I will have a tent on the sidelines,” said Bowers. “I’ll keep the water under the tent and have tubs set up for emergency cold soaks or just for the guys to take a nice dip after practice. I also have the whirlpool inside that is ready to go if needed.”
According to Bowers, part of staying safe in the dangerous heat begins before athletes step on the field. “I preach to these kids to drink lots and lots and lots of water,” she said. “Although some Gatorade is acceptable, nothing beats water. Gatorade, which is heavy in sugar, can actually cause cramping. So, I always tell players if they drink Gatorade, fill the empty bottle back up with water. It is also very important to eat in the mornings before practice — whether it’s eggs and bacon or a peanut butter sandwich, it gives them the necessary energy for practice and helps reduce overheating. Dressing in loose fitting, comfortable clothing or heat gear, is another component to staying cool.”
The State of South Carolina has mandated that all coaches take an annual test through the National Federation of State High Schools on heat illness prevention, concussions and sudden cardiac arrest. This precaution allows coaches to know the signs and symptoms and to both stay educated and help educate.
“With coaches and athletic trainers understanding what to watch for, it means more eyes to watch for signs and symptoms, which is better for our athletes,” said Bowers.

Heat IllnessPreventionSecondary School

South Carolina Athletic Trainers Keep Kids Safe in the Heat


Article reposted from WMBF News
Author: Alexis Simmons, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

The summer heat can create some dangerous conditions for high school football teams getting ready for the season.

This week marked the first day of practice for several Lowcountry teams. Athletic trainers are taking measures to keep student athletes safe as temperatures soar.

Today, the Military Magnet Academy (MMA) Football  Team practiced indoors to beat the heat. The basketball court is not the typical football floor, but for today it was the next best thing.

Robbe Hedstrom is the head athletic trainer at MMA, he is a certified trainer with Roper St. Francis.

“So today, the temperature that I took on the field was around 103 degrees with roughly 30 percent humidity and that put us just above the threshold for practicing outside,” Hedstrom said.

He says their considering moving practice to a later time when it’ll be cooler outside.He follows the National Athletic Trainer Association Guidelines that tell you how hot is too hot. That’s why they’re inside today.

“It’s a sliding scale. even at lower temperature if you have a high humidity that can dictate you to come inside or lessen practice time,”  he said.

Laura Richins is the Head Athletic Trainer at Porter Gaud.

“[That] is why we have practices so early and  so late in the day to try to avoid that,” Richins said.

The athletic trainers at Porter Gaud use the same device, a wet bulb, to determine the conditions.

No matter where practice takes place hydration and a good diet are essential.

“I like to tell kids six to eight glasses of water a day 15 to 20 ounces, roughly about two sports drinks as well,” Hedstrom said.

“We have the ice tub so if anyone is getting overheated, or if there is any risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke we can get them right in that ice bath,” Richins said.

Senior at MMA Brandon Brown knows the rewards of good habits.

“It’s really a good thing to keep yourself hydrated even in the off season so that your body just jumps back in,” Brown said.

“We try to tell the kids how to eat healthy how to drink healthy,” Hedstrom said. “Not only during practice, but when they’re away from school while they’re at home.”

Both athletic trainers measure their athlete’s hydration each practice. They weigh the players before and after practice, if they’re losing too much weight it’s a sign that they’re dehydrated. From there they’re advised to drink more water or sit out of practice.

According to the U.S News and World Report, between 1980 and 2015 there were 44 heat stroke-related deaths during preseason high school football practices.

The latest one happened Thursday when a 12-year-old in Georgia died several weeks after suffering from a heat stroke in practice.

Heat IllnessPreventionSecondary School

Athletic Trainers help high school athletes beat the heat


Article reposted from KSPR33
Author: KSPR33

This near triple digit heat might feel unbearable for everyone, but if you’re an athlete exercising in it, it can be downright dangerous.

In a matter of minutes, a football player collapses practicing in the scorching heat. That’s when this team comes into play.

“We have to remove the equipment including the jersey, including the helmet shoulder pads,” said trainer Melanie Noskowiak.

In what feels like more than 100 degrees out, trainers don’t have much time.

“That’s our hardest part to do especially out here,” Noskowiak.

They have less than 30 minutes get the player out of the heat.

“If it surpasses that 30 minute window then a whole cascade of organ failure takes place,” said Jim Raynor of Mercy Sports Medicine.

That’s the scenario trainers have to be ready for as players gear up for the season. It’s why the team at Mercy Sports Medicine is practicing exactly what to do when athletes overheat.

“If the core body temperature is over 104 degrees we will we will cascade our care management into rapid cooling which is emerging in ice water,” said Raynor.

But medical experts say there’s an easier way, one that could tell you if you’re at risk.

“with the heat, intensity of exercise, how well they hydrated, how well they ate, how much sleep they’ve gotten.”

He says it all plays a role in whether a player will end up like this, but trainers say..

“We’re taking care of the kid who is down,” said Noskowiak.

The practice for fall athletic seasons start on August 1.

Heat IllnessPrevention

Huntsville Hospital Athletic Trainers Help in the Heat


Article reposted from WHNT News19
Author: Christine Killimayer

Huntsville Hospital athletic trainer Joseph Lemery has been preparing the Sparkman High School football team for its toughest opponent so far this year – the extreme heat.

Practice doesn’t officially start until August 1 and games are still a month away, but during Wednesday’s open workout, the sun’s rays showed no mercy on the Senators. Lemery had his playbook ready.

“Typically, we have unlimited water and we let them take their helmets off whenever,” he said. “We double our efforts under those circumstances.”

Lemery has worked with the Senators for more than a decade, so he can tell when a blitz is coming.

“It really helps in these situations to know the athletes,” he said. “I know these guys really well. I have a good personal relationship with most of them, so I can tell when they’re acting lethargic or something’s just not right.”

The symptoms Lemery is monitoring in the players are the same ones parents and guardians can spot in children.

“Flushed skin at first, and then cool clammy skin, labored breathing, and then if you get to a point where you know how to check for a pulse, if you feel a really rapid pulse and they’re acting lethargic that’s the body saying heat exhaustion is probably coming or something worse and it’s that time to get in some shade and start taking on lots of fluids,” he said.

Lemery also spends the off-season educating the players, and their parents, on the Xs and Os of staying healthy in the heat, which include proper hydration, nutrition and rest.

“We don’t take any chances,” he said. “I have children, too. It’s somebody’s baby, at the end of the day, so there’s no need to take chances because we give them every opportunity to come prepared, we give them the information and we hammer it home.”

#AT4ALLHeat IllnessPrevention

Ohio Schools receive lifesaving equipment


portable immersion systems that facilitate the rapid cooling of athletes experiencing heat exhaustion, heat stress or heat stroke

High school football season is now in full swing with daily rigorous practices in the sweltering heat, and players loaded down with helmets and pads.

In recognition of the dangers that the heat can pose to student athletes, Lake Health announced that it has purchased 12 Polar Life Pods for each Lake County high school and college it works with. These schools include, Perry, Madison, Riverside, Painesville Harvey, Fairport, Andrews Osborne Academy, Kirtland, Eastlake North, Willoughby South, Wickliffe and Mentor, as well as Lakeland Community College.

Polar Life Pods are portable immersion systems that facilitate the rapid cooling of athletes experiencing heat exhaustion, heat stress or heat stroke. The pods resemble a hooded sleeping bag in which an athlete experiencing heat stroke can be easily zipped up in and monitored. An athlete up to 7 feet tall and 400 pounds can be accommodated inside the pod. The Polar Life Pods cost $325 each.

This system is the first of its kind, invented by an athletic trainer from Dayton. The company, Polar Products Inc., is based in Cuyahoga Falls and creates many other cooling products, such as vests and neck wraps.

“In the past, there was no product designed for this purpose. They had to adapt big 300-gallon water troughs that had to be set up ahead of time,” said William Graessle, president of Polar Products Inc. “They’re quite a ways from that reservoir and the reservoir has to be kept really cold the whole practice, which is almost impossible to do. If that water is not ice cold, it can’t cool the athlete quickly.”

The polar pods only require 30 to 60 gallons of water, which are poured in after the athlete is inside the pod. This water can be kept in the same multigallon coolers that athletes drink from.

The pods contain a flotation pillow that allow the athlete to become complete immersed, while keeping their airways clear.

“It hyperextends the neck to keep the airways up high, while still allowing the bottom half of the head and the neck to be in the ice water, very key points for cooling the body,” Graessle said.

The Polar Products Inc. team emphasizes the idea of “cool first, transport second.” Graessle explains that from the time an athlete begins to show symptoms of heat stroke, there is a 15-20 minute window to get the athletes temperature down to 102 degrees. If that can’t be done, the athlete can suffer permanent injuries.

“Brain, heart and nerve damage,” John Smith, director of sports medicine for Lake Health said. “Brain, obviously being the worst, and that’s what goes first.”

Although heat stroke is considered “exceedingly rare” — there have been 11,000 cases of heat stroke in the past 10 years, said Mike Mockbee, senior product manager at Polar Products Inc. — it is also considered 100 percent preventable.

“The only thing that we keep saying is it’s a defibrillator type situation,” Graessle said. “Remember 10 years ago, you didn’t see defibrillators everywhere. Now, they’re everywhere. You hope to never have to use it and that’s kind of the approach here.”

Smith added that these systems are easily used by anyone who has had training with the pods. If an athletic trainer is not on the scene, a coach could easily begin cooling down an athlete suffering from heat stroke.

“It’s safer for the trainers, it’s safer for the athlete and it’s more convenient that you can bring it to all the fields you need,” Mockbee said.


Heat IllnessPreventionSecondary School

Dehydrtion, a wake up call to high school athletes


Mayfield head athletic trainer Heather Fisher made more than six trips to the turf during the third quarter of the Wildcats' 35-14 win against Nordonia

It’s Wednesday. Are you properly hydrated for high school football this weekend?

For many Northeast Ohio teams, last week’s opening night served as a painful reminder that if they are not preparing early in the week to combat dehydration and cramping during Friday and Saturday games, they might be fighting a losing battle by the time the whistle blows. It will be critical for Week 2 with highs in the mid- to upper-80s Friday and Saturday.

Mayfield head athletic trainer Heather Fisher made more than six trips to the turf during the third quarter of the Wildcats’ 35-14 win against Nordonia on Friday to tend to players felled by leg cramps due to dehydration. The quarter took more than an hour to play because officials had to stop the clock for numerous cramping issues.

Fisher said although players have endured weeks of conditioning and scrimmages, stepping on the field for Week 1 is typically their first time playing in any type of extended game situation. By halftime, many players just don’t have enough fuel to get them through, she said.

“If you don’t show up at the stadium on Friday already in a balanced state, you’re definitely setting yourself up,” Fisher said.

The scene was repeated at stadiums across the area as players were seemingly unprepared for the rigors of opening night.

As Warrensville Heights and John Marshall entered their seventh overtime on Friday, Tigers coach Desean Washington noted many of Marshall’s players were succumbing to cramps both on the field and on the sidelines.

During Benedictine’s 35-23 win at Toledo Central Catholic on Saturday, the Bengals were without the services of standout receiver Justin Layne and defensive back Warren Saba for most of the second half. Both players said after the game that cramping was the major issue.

Toledo Central Catholic scored at least one of its second-half touchdowns on a play that as many as four Bengals starting defenders were on the sidelines.

“We have to do a better job of taking care of ourselves,” Benedictine coach Joe Schaefer said.

The weekend weather also played a part in the cramping effect. The nighttime temperature dipped into the upper 60s across the area, with a relative humidity of better than 70 percent. Fisher says cool, humid weather can be deceiving.

“They think that if it’s not hot, they don’t have to hydrate,” she said. “It’s a lot of the little things. Most of these guys are very good about taking care of themselves. I think this is showing tonight that they need to step it up a little more.”

By the fourth quarter, Fisher had made six trips to the field to tend to fallen players. Most of them were rolled over in pain, clutching calves or quads. More than twice as many players sought attention on the sideline, where stretching and topical rubs provided a temporary modicum of relief.

Tried and true methods include serving players a mixture of Gatorade and water, or even pickle juice to help increase salt levels. But that can sometimes upset a player’s stomach. And in most cases, the dehydration is so far gone that the player just has to gut it out, Fisher said.

“When it gets to this point, there is only so much we can do here on the sideline between the stretching and the topical stuff we use,” she said. “If they’re getting to this point, it’s almost too late. So we’ve got to do as much damage control as we can to get them through.”

Fisher recommends players with games on Fridays start hydrating by Wednesday. That includes as many as three, 22-ounce bottles of water per day, along with stretching and eating a balanced diet with the right amount of proteins and carbohydrates.

“It’s about doing the extra stretching and taking care of yourself at night,” she said. “Potassium intake and salt intake is important. Sometimes too much salt will cause cramping and too little salt will cause cramping as well.”


Heat IllnessPreventionSecondary School

Back to school and sports: What you need to know to stay healthy


Here are some safety tips to consider as high school sports ramp up

Fall semesters are beginning across the country, which means fall sports are already upon us. It’s an exciting time of year for both athletes and parents, and it’s also the perfect time to ensure those sports are being played as safely as possible. Here are some safety tips to consider as high school sports ramp up:

  • Prepare properly. All athletes should have a pre-participation exam to determine if their bodies are physically able to play. Medical authorization forms should be completed that include the student-athlete’s medical history, emergency contacts and permission for the school’s medical team to provide emergency care if necessary. Parents, consider your child’s unique circumstances and make sure he or she is physically and mentally prepared to participate. This is especially important if your child was previously injured and is returning to sports this fall. Athletes who are mentally ready to return to play after an injury usually have a smoother transition, which helps avoid repeat injury.
  • Ensure a safe playing environment. Wondering if your athlete’s school has all the proper safety measures in place? Find out the answers to these important questions:
    • Does the school have an emergency action plan (EAP)? Normally developed by the school’s athletic trainer, this plan provides a formal protocol for emergencies in collaboration with the school’s administration, coaches and local Emergency Medical Service (EMS). There should be a venue-specific EAP for all practice and game facilities.
    • Is the equipment in working order? Each sport has specific equipment that must be working properly to ensure safe play, including basketball goals, football helmets, gymnastics apparatus and field turf, to name a few. The school should also have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) onsite that are properly maintained by someone who knows how to use them in case of emergency. AEDs should be checked on a monthly basis because the batteries and pads need constant monitoring.
    • Who’s taking care of your athlete? Coaches should be credentialed if that is a requirement by your state, conference or league. They should also have CPR, AED and first aid training and collaborate with the sports medicine team, which includes the physician and athletic trainer, to ensure a plan is in place for emergencies. (NATA recommends that all secondary school athletic programs have at least one full-time athletic trainer.) In addition, it’s important that medical decisions are made by those same medical professionals, rather than coaches. This eliminates any potential conflict of interest.
    • How clean are the facilities? Locker rooms, gyms and showers should be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent bacterial, viral and fungal skin infections such as MRSA. Athletes should avoid sharing disposable razors, water bottles, sports gear and towels. Make sure your child’s clothing and equipment are being laundered/cleaned on a daily basis. (Some schools provide laundry services for the athletes, but others require athletes to handle it themselves. I’ve heard horror stories about high school athletes going months without washing their practice clothes!)
  • Know the risks. Returning to sports in late summer and early fall is an especially dangerous time for athletes because high temperatures lead to an increased risk of heat illness. (Find tips to beat the heat.) Certain sports have an increased risk of concussion, so those athletes need to be educated on prevention, symptoms and management. Athletes should be encouraged to speak up if they’ve taken a hit to the head and suffer from symptoms such as dizziness, loss of memory, lightheadedness or fatigue. If your child carries the sickle cell trait (all newborns are tested for this condition at birth), you should share that information with the school’s athletic trainer or medical team, since intense exertion poses increased risk for sickle cell trait athletes. Other medical conditions such as asthma and allergies can be exacerbated by intense activity, so keep those risks in mind.

Following these simple sports safety tips helps ensure that young athletes can excel in their sport and enjoy the spirit of competition with the right protocols in place. This checklist should be an integral part of every season or new activity. It will help create a foundation for safe play and a win-win environment for parents, coaches, teammates and the athletes themselves.

Back to school and sports: What you need to know to stay healthy

College and UniversityHeat IllnessPrevention

Westfield State University athletic trainer beats the heat


Athletes not only train themselves physically, they train themselves mentally and they understand the importance of taking care of their body on a hot preseason day

With a potential heat wave possible this week, it’s important to remember to take it slow outside. 22News talked to the Westfield State University’s football team to see how they are handling the heat and the humidity during preseason.

Athletes not only train themselves physically, they train themselves mentally and they understand the importance of taking care of their body on a hot preseason day.

22News got to Westfield State University mid afternoon Sunday to find the football players taken their day break. And to a meteorologist that’s good news, because temperatures were forecasted to be near 90.

22News talked to Cheryl Lee, Head Athletic Trainer at Westfield State University, to learn how their athletes train under such hot and humid conditions.

“The collegiate season for division 3 we have a 5 day climatization rule, so two days of helmets, 2 days of what we call shells, it’s just shoulder pads and a helmet, for another 2 days and the fifth day is all full pads so than they go double session, single session, so there is no consecutive double sessions as preseason goes.”

22News also talked to two seniors who know the ropes on how to take care of their bodies during long, hot days of practice.

Greg Sheridan, from Burlington, told 22News, “Coaches give us water breaks after every period and than trainers come around and they put little rags into ice buckets and put them on our necks.”

Also a senior at Westfield State University, Marcus Pettigrew from Auburn, added about the importance of taking care of your body off the fields too, “You gotta stay in cool places as much as possible obviously you have to drink a ton of water that’s the most important thing, stretch out, roll out, do what you gotta do.”

Whether your an athlete getting ready for preseason or just taking your workout outside, remember your limits, your body will thank you.


ConcussionHeat IllnessPreventionSecondary School

Nebraska Athletic Trainers work to decrease injuries


Bill Kleber, Creighton Prep's athletic trainer, said they do everything they can to prevent these kinds of injuries

With the start of school it also means the start of high school football.

Athletic trainers and coaches around the metro work long before the start of the season to do everything they can to keep student athletes safe.

In recent years, a number of NFL athletes have hung up their cleats because they just don’t want to risk further injury after a few concussions. It’s sparked a nationwide conversation with parents about whether or not their high school student is also safe.

Bill Kleber, Creighton Prep’s athletic trainer, said they do everything they can to prevent these kinds of injuries. For them, it starts with teaching proper tackling and making sure students are wearing the right equipment properly.

“Football is a dangerous game, it can be a dangerous game,” he said. “It’s a full contact game, it’s all about engaging your opponent, bringing somebody to the ground at some point in time. That’s when you need to be on the same page as coaches.”

Which means coaches are constantly talking with athletes about how they’re feeling.

Students also take tests before they have a concussion to get a base of where their brain is at. Then, if they might have a concussion, they’re tested again to see if their brain really is okay, or if it still needs to heal.

These tests have helped keep students off the field when they aren’t ready to be back.

But it’s not just concussions that are top of mind. Fall weather in Nebraska can be a range from scorching temperatures to snow.

During those hot days, Kleber said Prep has a specific plan in place for frequent water breaks, deciding when to practice in full gear, and when it’s okay to practice on that hot turf.

There is a new rule in Nebraska this year that also works to ease students into the heat. For the first two days of practice, students can only wear their helmets. From days three to five, students can only wear helmets and shoulder pads. On day six, they can go into full gear. The old rule only waited three days to get to that point.

Kleber also advised that hydration is key long before students ever step foot on the field. Athletes should be hydrating and preparing for the heat a week or two before getting out there.

They should also try to keep muscles loose and active before hitting the field. Kleber said some of the most common injuries he sees are strains and sprains.

He suggests staying active in the off-season so muscles don’t have to readjust.

At Prep, they also do dynamic stretching at every practice. It’s a type of warm up that keeps the muscles moving while stretching them, rather than staying still and stretching.

“It’s constant movement cause we practice at a pretty good pace right now, so we want our guys to warm up at a good rate,” Kleber said. “That has helped our injury rate in the past probably four years. it’s brought it down a little bit.”