University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Month: August 2017

Is your school prepared to protect your student athlete from potentially life threatening conditions? (WTNH)

By 

STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) – High school sports create a frenzy, on the field, in the gym, and in the stands.

But the first study of its kind — a state by state analysis into safety practices — reveals what needs to be done to better protect student athletes.

“We’re looking at the key things that can cause death in high school sports. So cardiac issues, heat issues, head injuries and other things that can protentially prevent serious consequences from playing high school sports,” says lead researcher Douglas Casa, who heads up the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn – a national sports research and advocacy organization.

Connecticut he says ranks 38th — among the other states and District of Columbia.

But Casa stresses that statewide policy changes at little or no cost, could easily boost that ranking.

Such as a detailed emergency action plan, “Like kind of set policy-like a recipe to follow like I call this number, open this gate, meet this ambulance driver and take the person there.”

He also recommends — modifying routines when needed, “When it’s really extreme environmental conditions, you make modifications, so like the state of Georgia has an outstanding policy that when it gets hotter outside, you have more rest breaks, and you have longer rest breaks.”

The unexpected can happen anytime.

Baseball pitcher Joey Ciancola died soon after collapsing on the first day of winter workouts on a practice field at a New England college.

“He was in perfect health and pushed to his limits,” says his mother, Michelle Ciancola.

She says that visible symptoms of exertional heat stroke went unchecked, “Joey became delirious, started to run backwards instead of forward. He was definitely struggling. When he collapsed he was having seizures.” She adds, “I strongly urge all parents and athletes that are going off to school — going off to high school — or going off to college in the next few weeks — to check in with your athletic department and ensure that they are following proper protocol and that they are trained.”

Casa says, “We need parents to make sure that when every time their kid goes out to a playing field, that there is an athletic trainer there, that there’s treatment for heat stroke, that they have an A-E-D just in case there’s a cardiac event.”

Even if a state doesn’t have a policy, Casa says that individual schools can set their own.

For example he says, E-O Smith High School in Storrs has immersion tubs on the practice field, even though it’s not required by the state.

Source: WTNH

Protecting Student-Athletes From Heat, Head Injuries (The Pew Charitable Trusts)

By Michael Ollove

Another high school football player, this one a 14-year-old in the Bronx, collapsed on the field and died last week, possibly the result of high heat and humidity.

The death of Dominick Bess of apparent cardiac arrest came at a time when thousands of high school athletes have returned to practice fields. It again raises the question of whether states are doing enough to ensure that student-athletes are safe as they collide into one another, run wind sprints, or dig in against hard-throwing pitchers.

Nearly 8 million kids participated in high school sports last year, the most in U.S. history. The shocking deaths of young student-athletes have prompted some states to weigh major changes.

The California Legislature is considering a bill that would bring athletic trainers under state regulation. Others, including Texas and Florida, are strengthening policies on training during high heat and humidity and on the use of defibrillators during sporting events and practices. They are also moving to require schools to devise emergency plans for managing catastrophic sports injuries. And in response to growing concerns about concussions, the state of Texas recently embarked on the largest study ever of brain injuries to young athletes.

But overall, a just released study of state laws and policies on secondary school sports found that all states could do more to keep high school athletes safe. And some have a long way to go.

The study has prompted a strong pushback, including from the national organization that represents state high school athletic associations. But it also has encouraged some athletic trainers and sports medicine physicians who hope poor rankings will impel their states to make improvements and avoid exposing student-athletes to needless risk.

“I was embarrassed we were last,” said Chris Mathewson, head athletic trainer at Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colorado, speaking of his state’s showing in the study’s ranking of state safety efforts. “My hope is it will kick people in the pants and get people to do something about it.”

The rankings were devised by the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), also known as Stringer, which is a part of the University of Connecticut and provides research, education and advocacy on safety measures for athletes, soldiers and laborers engaging in strenuous physical activity. It was named for a Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman who died of heat stroke during a preseason practice in 2001. His death sparked changes in NFL training practices and influenced reforms at the college and high school levels as well.

The rankings are based on whether states have adopted more than three dozen policies or laws derived from recommendations published in 2013 by a task force that included representatives from KSI, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. The recommendations cover such areas as prevention of heat stroke, cardiac arrest and head trauma, as well as qualifications of school athletic trainers and educating coaches in safe practices.

Some state athletic associations, including Colorado’s, and the National Federation of State High School Associations, known as NFHS, which represents the associations that govern high school extra-curricular activities, have objected to the methodology of those rankings. They say it relies too much on information found on the websites of state athletic associations while failing to note efforts those groups have undertaken to reduce risks to high school athletes.

“By ‘grading,’ state high school associations based on a limited number of criteria, KSI has chosen to shine a light on certain areas, but it has left others in the dark,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. He pointed to steps his group and its members have taken related to safe exertion in heat and humidity, use of defibrillators and tracking head injuries, which Stringer didn’t take into account.

In Colorado, Rhonda Blanford-Green, commissioner of the state’s High School Activities Association, said officials are “comfortable and confident that our [policies] meet or exceed standards for student safety.”

She complained that Stringer’s methodology is too rigid. For example, she noted that Stringer penalized states that did not require that all football coaches receive safety training taught by USA Football, the governing body for amateur football. But, she said, Colorado coaches are trained in other programs that she described as more comprehensive.

She also noted that her association was penalized because it made policy recommendations to its high school members, rather than making them requirements, as Stringer prefers.

The scholastic association in California, which finished just ahead of Colorado, also objected to the survey. Its executive director, Roger Blake, suggested that funding was a chief barrier to progress.

California Interscholastic Federation “member schools will need more funding, more AEDs [automated external defibrillators], more athletic trainers and more research to help support our efforts to minimizing risk,” Blake said. “With the assistance of everyone who cares about young athletes, including KSI, we can continue to progress.”

High School Deaths

Between 1982 and 2015, 735 high school students died as a result of their participation in school sports, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina. The vast majority of those deaths were related to football, and three-quarters of the overall deaths were attributed to cardiac arrest, respiratory failure or other ailments associated with physical exertion. The rest were linked to trauma, such as head injuries.

More of those deaths occurred in the 15 years prior to the year 2000 rather than the 15 years after — likely a reflection of the fact that most of the policies and laws pertaining to safety in high school sports were put in place after 2000, particularly in the last nine years.

In 2014-15, the last year for which there are statistics, 22 high school athletes died, 14 of them football players.

Some of the reforms carry the names of student-athletes who died while participating in school sports. That was true in North Carolina after the 2008 death of Matthew Gfeller, a 15-year-old sophomore linebacker who died in the fourth quarter of his first varsity game in Winston-Salem after colliding helmet-to-helmet with another player.

Now a foundation and a brain injury research institute at the University of North Carolina are named after Matthew. His name and that of another North Carolina high school football player, Jaquan Waller, who died the same year as a result of on-field head injuries, are attached to a 2011 North Carolina law that specifies concussion education for coaches and concussion protocols to be followed in high school athletics.

“Was the information out there in ’08?” said Matthew’s father Robert, who created the foundation. “No, but it’s out there now, big time.”

Despite the progress, the Stringer rankings demonstrate the distance many athletic trainers and doctors believe states still need to go to protect student-athletes.

For instance, although North Carolina finished No. 1 in the Stringer rankings, it has adopted only 79 percent of the laws or policies used in the rankings. In particular, Stringer found the state hadn’t done enough to make certain that defibrillators — and people trained to use them — were present at sporting events.

A Sense of Urgency

Many athletic trainers, such as Jason Bennett, president of the California Athletic Trainers’ Association, say the rankings should create urgency in his state and others. “This is life and death,” Bennett said. “The sad thing is that in many of these cases, the deaths were 100 percent preventable.”

California fared particularly poorly because it is the only state that does not regulate athletic trainers.

“Sometimes it’s the school’s janitor or maybe a friend of the coach,” said Democratic California Assembly member Matt Dababneh, who introduced a bill that would create state licensure for athletic trainers. “These are people who are making decisions about whether a kid who has just been hit in the head can safely go back into a game. And they have no qualifications to make that decision.”

The bill would not require all schools to employ an athletic trainer, although that’s exactly what many athletic trainers and sports medicine doctors say would best ensure the safety of student-athletes.

“The No. 1 thing we can do to make high school and youth sports safer is to have athletic trainers at any sporting event,” said Michael Seth Smith, co-medical director of a sports medicine program at the University of Florida focused on sports medicine for adolescents and high school students.

A survey from Stringer and others published this year found that fewer than 40 percent of public secondary schools in the U.S. had a full-time athletic trainer.

Mathewson, the athletic trainer in Colorado, said he has little sympathy for smaller schools who say they can’t afford athletic trainers. “If you can afford to put a football team on the field, you should be able to afford an athletic trainer.”

In a number of places, including in Florida and North Carolina, hospitals subsidize athletic trainers working in public schools, some in the expectation that after a year or two, the school district will pick up the costs.

Aside from the salary of an athletic trainer, schools could adopt most of the best practices at an initial cost of $5,000 and an outlay of less than $2,500 a year thereafter, according to Stringer CEO Doug Casa.

Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts

Back in Falmouth– 2017

Yuri Hosokawa, PhD, ATC

Vice President of Communication, Vice President of Education

Ryan Curtis, MS, ATC, CSCS

Associate Director of Athlete Performance and Safety

 

Our summer is not complete without going to Falmouth, MA, to work at the New Balance Falmouth Road Race medical tent and continue our research and educational initiatives. We have been very fortunate to have the support from the race board members to have KSI presence at the pre-race medical symposium, health & fitness expo, and at the race as medical volunteers and research staff.

 

NB Falmouth Road Race Medical Symposium

With a host of medical volunteers and invited guests in attendance, this year’s NB Falmouth Road Race Medical Symposium featured presentations on a range of relevant topics including recognition and treatment of running-related orthopedic injuries, physiological concerns when developing strategies to optimize performance in the heat, and wearable technologies that can assist in optimizing performance.

 

Veteran NB FRR orthopedic medical provider, Dr. Don O’Malley, drew upon his experneces to give a thorough review of his top 10 running related orthopedic injuries. Dr. William Adams, a member of KSI’s medical and science advisory board and current assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, presented on physiological concerns and strategies when optimizing performance in the heat. The third invited speaker was Ryan Curtis, MS, ATC, CSCS, Associate Director of Athlete Performance and Safety, who discussed integration of wearable technology to optimize performance in the heat.  The symposium was concluded with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Jardine, who also serves as the Co-Medical Director of the NB Falmouth Road Race. He briefed attendees on the logistics and chain of command that will be followed on the day of the race. Overall, the 2017 NB FRR Medical Symposium featured not only relevant topics in medicine but additionally offered a glance into the future of health and performance optimization.

 

Health & Fitness Expo

This year was our first time to participate in the Health & Fitness Expo as an exhibitor. The increased recognition of the KSI among the Falmouth runners was evident. We had many runners come stop by, and it was such a rewarding experience to have some of them share their personal stories about how they or their family members and friends were saved from exertional heat stroke by the NB Falmouth Road Race medical volunteers.

 

 

At the expo, we also met with this year’s study participants who already participated in a series of laboratory tests at the University of Connecticut in mid-July to early August. These runners were provided with an ingestible thermistor pill, which allow researchers to readily measure their internal body temperature on the day of the race.

 

 

Race Day

Race day for both medical and research volunteers started before dawn on Falmouth Sunday. The research crew set up the morning data collection booth at Lawrence School, which was where all runners met to get on shuttle buses to the starting line in Woods Hole. The research data collection included measurements such as participants’ gastrointestinal temperature, sweat rate, and pre- and post-race blood and urine collection.

 

 

At the medical tent, medical volunteers gathered to review the triage protocol and proper methods for treating exertional heat stroke. Chris Troyanos, Medical Coordinator of the NB Falmouth Road Race, Dr. Jardine and Dr. Robert Davis, the co-medical directors, and Dr. Douglas Casa from KSI lead the group of veteran and novice medical volunteers so that the medical tent was ready for runners who would be finishing the 7.1-mile course in the forecasted warm and humid conditions.

 

 

Findings from the NB Falmouth Road Race study will be analyzed over the course of the next several months and will be prepared for scientific presentations at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and American College of Sports Medicine annual meetings in 2018.

 

 

 #RunFalmouth #Strive2Protect #RaceMedicine

How Older Men and Women Can Safely Beat the Heat (Health Central)

When 60-year-old Joseph Lorenc set out on the 7-mile Falmouth Road Race in mid-August, 2015, he was his usual highly-motivated self: healthy, in good shape and used to running longer distances. At 9 a.m. temperatures on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, registered in the mid-70s, rising to around 80 at race’s end an hour later. A 5-mile per hour wind blew at Lorenc’s back instead of helpfully cooling him from the front.

Early on, the former high-tech professional strained a lower abdominal muscle and then he had to “work harder,” Lorenc told HealthCentral in a telephone interview. That led to an “exertional heat event” that could have become life-threatening.

“An exertional heatstroke can happen in otherwise healthy, active people, when the metabolic heat produced from exercise or activity exceeds the physiological limit to regulate their body heat effectively,” says Yuri Hosokawa, Ph.D., ATC, LAT, and vice president of communication and education at the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). She responded to HealthCentral in an email interview. “More common classic heatstroke occurs when an individual is passively exposed to heat — being in a hot room during a heat wave.”

Other risk factors for exertional heatstroke include dehydration, partaking in an activity not matched to a person’s fitness level, recent illness, and sleep deprivation, Dr. Hosokawa says.

Medical tent personnel fully submerged Lorenc — totally coherent, but exhausted and wobbly with a body temperature of more than 107 degrees — in a tub of ice water for 20 minutes. The decidedly uncomfortable treatment worked, and later he reflected on his near-miss.

“As an experienced runner, I never saw this coming. It was fortuitous that I was in the right place at the right time,” Lorenc says.

The heat is on

Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Rising summer temperatures around the globe will continue to put humans at risk — especially older adults, very young children, and those with chronic conditions.

 “Unrelenting heat over days or weeks above target temperatures, with no nighttime cool-down preventing recovery, can contribute to heat-related illness,” says Rade Vukmir, M.D., J.D., FACEP of Pittsburgh in a telephone interview with HealthCentral. He’s also a professor adjunct of emergency medicine at Temple University and a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

A heatstroke is the most dangerous form of hyperthermia or over-heating, affecting the body’s central nervous system and causing changes in consciousness and behavior. “Cognitive damage is a real risk because the brain is a precisely regulated instrument,” adds Dr. Vukmir. “An overheated brain that fails to compensate normally can produce altered mental status.”

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) notes that when heat rises in the body to uncontrollable levels, symptoms of heatstroke can include:

  • Mental confusion or agitation.
  • Abnormal pulse: In earlier stages of hyperthermia, the pulse may be strong and rapid as the body tries to cope, but as heatstroke progresses, the pulse can become weak.
  • Hot and dry skin.
  • Fainting, staggering or coma.

Other forms of hyperthermia can also put anyone at risk for less severe problems: unpleasant heat stress, heat syncope (fainting), sudden dizziness after exercising in heat, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion, says Basil A. Eldadah, M.D., Ph.D, program officer and chief of the geriatrics branch of the NIA in a telephone interview with HealthCentral.

Seniors take extra care

Age-related changes increase risk in the elderly, Dr. Hosokawa says. “They may have a reduced ability to sweat, which is the body’s natural cooling mechanism. Normally, the intricate network of blood vessels dilates and constricts, like the radiator of a car, bringing blood closer to the surface of the skin to cool it as heat is exchanged with outside air.”

“Symptoms of hyperthermia may not be very specific, unlike pain in a toe, for example,” Dr. Eldadah says. “They may include fatigue, exhaustion, headache, nausea, or dizziness. Older adults who regularly experience those symptoms may not immediately think the cause is heat-related illness. Also, hyperthermia can affect thinking and planning, which may make it more difficult to take appropriate action in the heat.”

 Be aware of seniors in your community who may need help, Dr. Vukmir says. “Remember that elderly adults with cognitive impairment may simply forget to open windows if they don’t have air conditioning. Maybe they’re on a diuretic to reduce fluid levels due to congestive heart failure, for example. Then they could be conflicted, less prone to drink more fluids to cool themselves, which could cause dehydration.”

The NIA suggests elders go to places with air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters, and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups, and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

Treat heat-related illness

If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness, you should:

  • Call 911 if you suspect heatstroke.
  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water, fruit, and vegetable juices, but not alcohol or caffeine.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
  • Encourage the individual to shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water if it is safe to do so.

In the event of a heatstroke, Dr. Vukmir says EMS personnel or those in an emergency department would actually apply ice packs to the armpit and groin to cool the femoral vessels in the leg, as well as the axillary vessels in the armpit — all responsible for major blood flow in the body. Cooling blankets or a cooling vest may also be applied.

Emergency personnel may also remove the patient‘s clothing so a mist of water can be applied to the skin while a fan circulates air, aiding evaporative cooling. In life-or-death situations, separate procedures involving cooled IV fluids, a bladder catheter or gastric tube might also be utilized, as well as a medical device that positions a catheter-type cooling system directly into a large groin vessel.

In the event of exertional heat stroke, as in Lorenc’s case, on-site rapid cooling with whole body, ice water immersion before transporting to the hospital can be a life-saver, adds Dr. Hosokawa. See UCONN’s TEDEd video for more information on heatstroke.

“Know your risk for heat-related illness so you don’t take unnecessary chances,” says Lorenc.

Source: Health Central

The Falmouth Road Race Sets The Stage For Exercise Studies (The Falmouth Enterprise)

By ANDREA F. CARTER

Scientists and staff with the Korey Stringer Institute will be conducting studies again this year during New Balance Falmouth Road Race.

The institute, based at the University of Connecticut, studies conditions and exercise habits that can lead to heat-related illnesses and was founded in memory of Korey D. Stringer, an NFL football player who died from complications associated with heat stroke during a game.

This is the fifth year that the institute has come to the road race for collaborative studies.

The Falmouth Road Race, which is relatively short and where people can exert themselves to finish in the hot humid month of August, offers a venue to study ways to prevent heat illness, explained Yuri Hosokawa, vice president of communications and education with the institute.

The institute’s weekend here started Thursday, August 17, where staff presented at the New Balance Falmouth Road Race Sports Medicine Symposium, held with Falmouth Hospital, which staffs the race medical tent.

“It’s an opportunity for runners interested in the science behind running in the heat and medical professionals to receive continuing credit,” Dr. Hosokawa said.

The institute is conducting two studies at the race. The surveillance study, being done for a second year in a row, is following a number of racers as they prepared and trained after watching an informational video on healthy and safe tips for exercising in the heat.

Scientists will follow up with the racers after the race to learn how they felt during the race and how the pre-race information affected their training and experience. Every person who registers for the road race received a study survey. As of Tuesday of this week Dr. Hosokawa said that about 2,000 runners were participating.

“We appreciate their interest and support and hope to get 80 percent response for the post-race,” Dr. Hosokawa said.

Study results will be shared with the Falmouth Road Race and medical staff to better inform pre-race education programs, Dr. Hosokawa said.

The second project selected about 30 runners, ages 20 to 65, for a more in-depth exercise study.

These participants visited the University of Connecticut campus for exercise testing at slower and faster paces to monitor  cardiovascular fitness and how these athletes respond to heat and humidity. Their lab results will be compared to data gathered during and after the race.

Dr. Hosokawa said many studies look at the elite runners; here, the institute is following competitive recreational runners, who make up a majority of the race participants.

Medical practices developed at the race to treat heat illness with no fatalities have become the gold standard, she said.

“The Falmouth Road Race sets the standard for medical professionals on how to prepare for exertion-related heat illness,” Dr. Hosokawa said.

Source: The Falmouth Enterprise

2017 Summer Intern KSI Fellowship Experience

Miwako Suzuki, KSI Intern Fellow

My name is Miwako Suzuki, and I am an Athletic Training student at Indiana State University. Gratefully, I was chosen to receive the opportunity to intern at the Korey Stringer Institute in the Summer Fellowship Program. I am originally from Japan, and I studied Athletic Training there as well. While receiving my education in Japan, I found it necessary to learn more about prevention and management of emergency conditions, and this sense of mission brought me to the United States. I became aware of the KSI four years ago when I was still in Japan through Dr. Yuri Hosokawa, Vice President of Education and Communication at the KSI, and I have been attracted to the KSI since then. The past two months and ten days that I spent with the KSI members were full of great experiences and learning.

Among the several projects that I worked on during the summer, the main focus was placed on the Athletic Training Locations and Services (ATLAS) Project. The aim of the ATLAS Project is to determine the extent of current athletic training services provided in the secondary school setting, and it was launched in January 2016 with these goals:

  • Create a real-time database of athletic training services in secondary schools
  • Create a directory for each state’s athletic training association and high school athletics association
  • Assist states in moving toward full-time athletic training services
  • Provide useful data to each state’s athletic training association and high school athletic association
  • Identify common factors associated with increased athletic training services across the country
  • Provide data to assist with legislative efforts to improve healthcare for high school athletes

 

At the beginning of the summer, the ATLAS Project was at the stage of figuring out the extent of athletic training services in the last 10% of high schools that we had been unable to reach. To reach those schools, I have tried multiple methods such as making phone calls, writing emails to athletic directors, and searching their website for athletic trainer’s information. Even though I made some progress with these strategies, the most effective method was reaching out to athletic trainers of the neighboring high schools of the unknown schools for help. From this experience, I have learned firsthand that ATLAS is not only a great database but also a very useful communication tool. While interacting with high school athletic trainers throughout the nation, many of them showed their appreciation and support for this study. I am very grateful to be one of the members to propel this important project forward. I would like to thank Dr. Robert Huggins for including me in this project and always guiding me. I also would like to thank Sarah Attanasio, ATC, for teaching me and providing help whenever I asked.

Testing for the Falmouth Road Race study began in mid July. We conducted a modified heat tolerance test on recreational runners of a wide range of ages who are participating in the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on August 20th, 2017. Although the study will not be completed until the race day, collecting data on individuals’ physiological responses to exercise in the heat was a great learning opportunity for me. I believe that the wide distribution of demographics of this study allowed me to encounter various responses among the subjects. With regard to conducting a laboratory test, I observed the effort of the KSI members to make the study robust. I was very fortunate to learn from such experienced and passionate colleagues. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Yuri Hosokawa and Kelsey Rynkiewicz, ATC, for their effort to involve me in this study.

 

On August 20th, which will be my last day as a KSI fellow, I will be at the New BalanceFalmouth Road Race and will serve as a medical volunteer with the KSI staff. The Falmouth Road Race has been recognized for its high incidence rate of exertional heat illnesses because of the environmental conditions and its short duration (7.1 miles), which allows runners to maintain relatively high intensity throughout the entire duration of the course. According to a previous study from the KSI, this race has saved multiple exertional heat stroke patients each year. Since I have never encountered a real exertional heat stroke case, I would like to take this opportunity as a great hands-on learning experience.

 

I appreciate every aspect of the activities that I had the opportunity to take part in at the KSI. The KSI was an even greater place than I expected. All the members are making a great effort for their projects with the strong passion and commitment for the KSI’s mission. I believe that this is the reason why the KSI has been successfully leading our profession. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Douglas Casa for providing such a great opportunity. I fully enjoyed summer 2017 with such great colleagues.

16-year-old killed when log falls on him during football drill (ESPN)

FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. — A high school football player lifting a large log with teammates as part of a Navy SEALs-style drill was hit in the head by the log and died Thursday, raising questions about adapting such military training to young athletes.

Joshua Mileto, a 16-year-old Sachem East High School junior, and about five of his teammates were carrying the log overhead when the accident happened at a preseason exercise camp supervised by a half-dozen coaches, Suffolk County police said.

The 5-foot-6, 134-pound wide receiver and defensive back was declared dead later at a hospital.

Sachem East graduate Carlin Schledorn, who played football as a junior, said carrying the log — about 12 feet (3.7 meters) long and the diameter of a utility pole — was a “team building” exercise.

“It’s very big. It’s like a tree, and it’s a challenge for people who weightlift,” he said. “Five or six people do it at once. I feel horrific for the team and coaches because I know them, and they are all great men.”

School officials, including the head coach, did not comment on the exercise.

A person at Mileto’s home declined to speak with reporters.

Classmate Olivia Cassereli said Mileto “cared about everyone else.”

“He put others before himself, and everyone loved him and was friends with him,” said Cassereli, who called him her best friend.

Some colleges and other high schools around the country have incorporated log-carrying drills and other military-inspired exercises into their football preparations in recent years, sometimes bringing in SEALs to teach and motivate.

Players at Indiana’s New Albany High School teamed up last month to tote 6-foot-long, 200-pound logs two miles from a local amphitheater to the school.

SEALs and Green Berets trained the players first on how to lift the logs and carry them on their shoulders, coach Steve Cooley said. Accompanied by coaches and a police escort, the groups paused for water and put the logs down every one or two blocks, and each six-person squad had an extra man who could sub in if someone got tired.

“The purpose was not to try to see how tough they are … the purpose was to accomplish a goal,” Cooley said. “It was very rewarding for all of us.”

But after Mileto’s death on Thursday, sports safety expert Douglas Casa questioned the wisdom of having teenagers perform an exercise that involves carrying a heavy object and that was developed for Navy SEALs, who are “potentially a very different clientele.”

“There’s so much potential for things to go wrong that I would really want people to think twice before doing something like that,” said Casa, executive director of the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, which works to improve safety for athletes.

Football, at all levels, has become more safety-conscious in recent years amid scrutiny of head injuries in the sport. In college football, for instance, the NCAA this year barred the two-a-day contact practices that coaches once used to toughen up their teams in the preseason, though many teams had ended them already.

For high schools in Suffolk County, offseason practices are permitted as long as they are not mandated and are open to everyone, said Tom Combs, executive director of the athletic organization that oversees high school sports in the county.

“What exercises that are conducted are the privy of the school district and individuals running the workouts,” he said.

In an unrelated incident, another player fell and hit his head Wednesday at the school during training, police said. His injuries were not life-threatening.

Sachem Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Graham extended condolences to Mileto’s family and friends and said support services will be offered “for as long as needed.”

The team’s training officially starts Monday, and the football season starts in September.

Source: ESPN

Health and Safety Policy Ranking for High School Athletics

Samantha Scarneo, MS, ATC

Director of Sport Safety

On Tuesday, August 8th, the Korey Stringer Institute held a press conference for the release of the Health and Safety Policy Ranking for High School Athletics. The goal of this project was to review publically available information from high school associations and state legislation to determine how states are mandating safety standards for their athletes. A positive finding from this study is every state, including the District of Columbia, has some type of health and safety policy requirement for their high schools to follow. However, not a single state meets all of the minimum best practice requirements for the areas focused on in this project; which happen to be the top causes of sudden death in sport, accounting for over 90% of sport-related deaths.

 

North Carolina is leading the way scoring a 79%, followed by Kentucky (71.13%) and Massachusetts (67.4%). KSI was honored to have Mr. Bob Gfeller, Mr. David Csillan, and Dr. Morgan Anderson as well as Dr. Douglas Casa and Dr. William Adams, speak at the press conference. Dr. Adams began the press conference stating the methods used for this project, which included accessing publically available information from state high school associations and legislation. Dr. Casa followed up with information pertaining to the results of the study. Csillan, athletic trainer from New Jersey, provided comments about his continued advocacy for New Jersey to implement best practice standards statewide. Mr. Gfeller spoke on the importance of implementing policies to ensure that no parents need to go through the tragic loss of a child. Dr. Morgan Anderson echoed these comments by stating “We have tragic examples from the past that motivates us daily to make a change.”

The Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine will publish the study with these findings in the September issue. The accepted version of the PDF can be found here.

Change is difficult. There may be states who are not thrilled with these published findings, too. However, these data are the reality of current health and safety policies in high school athletics. This report is dedicated to the parents who have lost, or those parents who have their sons and daughters participating in sport, and it can be the conduit in making sure that your children’s safety are accounted for by the governing organizations. I urge you all to contact your state high school association leaders and legislators to find out if they are 1) aware of where they stand in the ranking and 2) their plans forward for improvement.

UConn Study Finds High School Athletes At Risk; Connecticut Ranks 38th Nationally (Hartford Courant)

By: Mike Anthony

Connecticut ranks in the bottom third nationally in implementation of requirements at the state level to keep high school athletes safe from some life-threatening conditions, a new nationwide assessment of safety guidelines shows.

In fact, most states are failing to properly protect athletes against heatstroke, sudden cardiac arrest and other conditions, according to the study by UConn’s Korey Stringer Institute. The results were made public Tuesday morning at NFL Headquarters on Park Avenue.

Connecticut ranked No. 38 of 51 (each state and the District of Columbia) in graded assessments of the implementation of policies pertaining to the four leading causes of death among secondary school athletes — sudden cardiac arrest, traumatic head injury, exertional heat stroke and exertional sickling, which is a medical emergency that can occur in athletes carrying the sickle cell trait.

“What Connecticut has in place that is really a model program right now is the heat acclimatization policy,” said Douglas Casa, CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute. “That’s the phasing in of activity across time during the first couple of weeks of football practices. Connecticut has every single point you can attain on our rubric related to the first five days of not having two-a-days, not having successive days of two-a-days, phasing in the amount of equipment.

“An example where we need improvement is something related to environmental monitoring. A state like Georgia, for instance, has a great program where if it’s a really hot day, they measure the environmental conditions and make modifications [to practices] based on the conditions. Because we know that almost all heatstroke deaths happen when it’s hotter than usual for where you live.”

States were given a score reflecting how well they have implemented policy aimed toward preventing and managing life-threatening conditions, related mostly to exertion, with scores (the best being 20) assigned in five categories.

Connecticut received a score of 40.001 out of 100, with scores of seven in exertional heatstroke, six in traumatic head injuries, six in sudden cardiac arrest, 15 in appropriate health care coverage and 6.001 in emergency preparedness.

The study did not take into account practices, many of them common and consistent, that take place through policy set by school districts.

“We’re disappointed that the survey is communicated in such a way that seems to be reflective of an entire state’s efforts when in fact it’s really only a very generalized approach to certain categories, and it’s only about state association policy,” CIAC executive director Karissa Niehoff said. “Our state has some of the most stringent requirements for coaching certification and education. We’re required to educate all parents and student-athletes about concussions and cardiac arrest, and we do that. We’re not an association that imposes requirements such as trainers at every single event, or requires certain [weather] measurement systems, because frankly we think that districts are best able to decide what’s appropriate for them and, truthfully, what they can afford.”

North Carolina was found to have the most comprehensive policies and received a top score of 79, followed by Kentucky (71.13) and Massachusetts (67.4). The states with the lowest grades were Colorado (23), California (26) and Iowa (26). The median state score was 47.

The KSI study recommended a course of action for all states to implement the following policies:

• Automatic external defibrillators and certified athletic trainers on site at all athletic events.

• Phasing in summer practices and taking other steps to protect athletes from heat stroke.

• Training coaches on concussion symptoms.

• Detailed emergency action plans for all life-threatening emergencies.

• Mandated screening of athletes for sickle cell trait.

The report notes that there have been 735 deaths and 626 catastrophic injuries among high school athletes between 1982-2015. More than 7.8 million secondary school athletes participate in sanctioned sports annually, the study states.

Korey Stringer was an All-America football player at Ohio State and first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1995. He died at age 27 in 2001 after suffering heatstroke during Vikings training camp in 2001.

The Korey Stringer Institute, founded at UConn in 2010, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the prevention of sudden death in athletes and active individuals. It has a staff of 20, and 60 volunteers.

Each state’s governing body for high school sports was notified of the study’s results and given 30 days to respond with questions, clarifications, disputes or confirmations. Scores will continue to be updated as new information is provided and policies change.

“We offer the strongest encouragement for best practices, we offer guidelines,” Niehoff said. “We were disappointed that the emphasis was on a ranking as opposed to a really comprehensive and authentic look at everything that’s being done in a state. … Whether or not it feels good to look at study results, it does spark conversation and it’s always good to revisit with urgency whether your health and safety policies are as relevant and supportive as they can be.

“Quite frankly, we appreciate that the legislature does not get involved too deeply in statutory language around implementation around athletic programs because to change legislation is quite an involved process that takes time. When our association develops policy, we can be nimble and respond quickly if there’s new research or something that needs to change in a rapid way.”

The NFL allowed Tuesday’s announcement to take place at its headquarters because it sponsors the Korey Stringer Institute, though the NFL did not sponsor the study.

“While we focus a lot of treating injuries and illnesses, Our role in prevention is just as important,” said another speaker, Morgan Busko Anderson, an internal medicine physician specializing in primary care sports medicine and a sports medicine fellow at Wake Forest University. “Prevention of injuries, prevention of illnesses, prevention of deaths. The evidence shows that prevention practices and policies can prevent these deaths. So why do we have this gap now, between what we know is evidence-based, best-practice medicine, and what some of our high school athletes are receiving?”

Casa said many of the fixes are simple.

“We believe you can get to 85 points out of 100 for less than $5,000 a year,” Casa said. “We’re trying to institute policy and do whatever we can before [young athletes] die, to not have to wait for your particular state to have an emergency or tragedy to implement policy, to maybe learn from a tragedy that happens across a state line. A lot of the states did react in a very positive way after having a tragedy, and we’re trying to prevent them from happening in the future.”

Source: Hartford Courant