• Athletics
  • Report
  • Higher Ed
  • K-12

Reducing Heat Illness in Athletes

Melanie Bennett, Esq., ARM-E
March 2021

Why Read This

Heat-related illness is preventable, yet it's a leading cause of death and injury among college and high school athletes, especially those in high-exertion sports such as football. In fact, professional football provides a model for addressing this issue. Since the NFL overhauled its practices around heat-related illnesses following the 2001 death of Korey Stringer, not a single player has died from heat exertion.

Athletic trainers, coaches, and others involved in athletic programs should be well-versed in practices to prevent heat illness. Share this guide with them to align your school or campus on effective strategies for heat illness reduction.

Key Takeaways

  • A review of United Educators (UE) claims arising from heat-related illnesses in athletes reveals that the primary cause of liability is poor planning for reduction of and response to this risk.
  • An effective heat illness reduction program includes pre-participation physicals, training on recognizing and treating symptoms, having treatment equipment readily available, and developing and implementing an emergency action plan.
  • Allowing adequate time for acclimatization, and placing emphasis on hydration, are also important tools for preventing heat illness.

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