Eight Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke in Athletes

After dealing with a hot and steamy summer in Florida, I thought it would be important to share tips to prevent heat stroke. It’s especially important to bring these tips up now that kids are returning to school and may be participating in various athletic activities. I recently received the following information about research taking place at Central Michigan University that could impact the way the NFL and other sports leagues treat athletes during life-threatening, heat stroke emergencies.

The heat of summer causes the death of one young athlete nearly every other day, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, and incidents of heat stroke have increased over the past 20 years.

Central Michigan University associate professor of rehabilitation and medical sciences Kevin Miller is finding the best ways to help coaches and athletic trainers save treatment time and lives in the event of a heat stroke medical emergency.

“Right now, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association tells our clinicians that the best way to treat a football player with heat stroke is to remove all of their equipment before immersing them in water,” Miller said.

He is researching if athletes can be cooled effectively while wearing full gear and are near heat stroke and whether or not it’s necessary to remove their gear for treatment.

“We put the full football gear on, helmet included, and we have subjects run on a treadmill in our environmental heat chamber,” he said. “We try to replicate a scenario that a real football player would experience during the months of August and September. Once they get to a body temperature near heat stroke, we have them go into a cold-water tub up to their neck. We then measure how quickly it takes to reduce their body temperature back to a normal level while wearing their full pads.”

Miller’s research shows that cold water is such a powerful cooling agent, it doesn’t matter if the athlete keeps their full gear on.

“We are revising the NATA’s position statement about what to do with football players when they have a heat stroke,” Miller explained. “It’s not necessary to remove their full gear, so the clinician can save time during treatment, thereby minimizing any tissue or organ damage and even preventing deaths.”

According to Miller, heat injuries are completely preventable if parents and coaches follow tips to ensure the safety of athletes. Check out the infographic below for the eight tips to prevent heat stroke.Heat Stroke Prevention Tips

As a result of this research, The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions has committed $300,000 toward the construction of a state-of-the-art environmental heat chamber that will allow for additional studies using precise, controlled temperature and humidity levels.

**Information in this article was provided from a CMU press release. For more information or for other press releases from CMU, please visit: http://media.cmich.edu/news

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