Since our launch in August 2000, MomsTEAM has been educating parents, coaches, athletic trainers and players on the dangers of heat illness, how to prevent exertional heat stroke - particularly among football players who are most at risk during pre-season practice - and how heat stroke should be treated if and when it occurs.
Our sports hydration and heat illness expert, Susan Yeargin, Ph.D., ATC, has been working alongside Doug Casa, head of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, to get states to pass laws modeled on the 2009 heat acclimatization guidelines developed by a joint task force on which she and Doug served, and to educate the youth sports community about heat illness.
Most recently, Susan worked with KSI on a handout on heat acclimatization, and reported that, despite strong lobbying efforts by KSI, only a handful of states had thus far acted to pass heat acclimatization laws.
Heat-related deaths tripled
Sadly, the fact is that, while they are one of the most - if not, the most - preventable of all catastrophic sports injuries, heat-related deaths among high school and college football players in the United States nearly tripled between 1994 and 2009, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Georgia, with an average of nearly three players dying each year during that time period versus about one death per year during the previous 15 years. Six deaths occurred in Georgia alone, the most of any state. (No wonder that in 2012 Georgia became the sixth state to enact strong heat safety legislation).
So, when I learned that KSI had come out with a great new video about heat stroke, I was thrilled to be able to post it on our site. It features Doug Casa and includes some video from a fantastic PBS Frontline documentary that aired a while back which focused on the fate of four high school football players in Arkansas who suffered heat stroke during pre-season practice in the summer of 2010.
I encourage every parent of an athlete in any sport, but especially football and endurance sports like marathon, cross-country, triathlons, and road cycling, to watch the video and then go to MomsTEAM's hydration safety center on our Health and Safety Channel for comprehensive information about heat illness prevention and treatment.
I know Doug Casa, Susan Yeargin, and I won't rest until we can report that a summer has gone by without any athlete dying from exertional heat stroke.