William Adams, PhD, LAT, ATC
On March 9-10, 2017, Drs. Douglas Casa, PhD, ATC, FACSM, FNATA, FNAK and William Adams, PhD, ATC along with KSI staff member Courteney Benjamin, MS, CSCS traveled to the University of Florida to attend their Collaborative Solutions for Safety in Florida High School Sports meeting. Organized by the University of Florida and the Florida Association of Sports Medicine, the aim of the meeting was to begin the steps of health and safety policies for the Florida’s high school student-athletes.
The meeting was attended by representatives from various regions within the state of Florida and included sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, high school administrators, coaches and the Florida High School Athletics Association. Dr. Casa spoke on the importance of implementing evidence-based best practice policies focused on the leading causes of death in sport and provided numerous case examples as to how these policies have been effective at reducing the number of sport-related deaths. Dr. Adams followed by discussing the current standing of health and safety policies mandated for high school athletics in Florida.
Following these initial talks, the rest of the meeting consisted of various break out sessions specifically designed to stimulate discussion amongst the group and discuss strategies for how to implement changes to current policies related to emergency action plans, environmental monitoring and activity modification guidelines, concussion, AEDs and coaching education. Discussing the current barriers for implementing the aforementioned policies and strategies to overcome these barriers with the attendees, who many are the state leaders in their respective professions, allowed everyone in the room to participate to assist in developing a plan going forward to present to the Florida High School Athletics Association to further protect their student-athletes.
Overall, this meeting was a tremendous success and we are truly thankful for the University of Florida and FASmed for organizing this meeting and for the University of Florida for hosting the meeting at their facilities. Having a group of highly motivated individuals from across the state of Florida come together to discuss how they can improve high school student-athlete health and safety is a model example of ways other states can have similar successes. The coordinated efforts of sports medicine professionals, high school and state high school athletics association administrators and coaches is instrumental for preventing sudden death in our young athletes who have a full life to live in front of them.