Month: February 2019

Preventing Student Athlete Injury or Sudden Death – Interview with Dr. Douglas Casa (Principal Matters)

Dr. Douglas Casa began his study of student athletic safety in 1985 when he suffered an exertional heat stroke while running a 10K race.

As he explains, “I was fortunate to receive amazing care on-site from the athletic trainer; the EMT’s in the ambulance; and at the hospital from the emergency room physicians and nurses. I only survived because of the exceptional care I received. I was just 16 years old at the time, but I have been driven by this experience since that day.”

Whether you a leading an elementary school or high school, school activities and athletics play such an important role in the lives of your students. These programs also contribute to the overall culture and climate of your school community. As positive as these opportunities can be, it is equally important that best-practices are in place for activities, practices, and games. This includes knowing ahead of time how you or your staff will handle emergency situations.

Meet Dr. Doug Casa

Dr. Douglas Casa is a Professor at the University of Connecticut and the Chief Executive Officer for the Korey Stringer Institute.Additionally, he is the editor of a book titled: Preventing Sudden Death in Sport and Physical Activity (2nd edition, 2017), published by Jones & Bartlett in cooperation with the American College of Sports Medicine. His new book titled Sports and Physical Activity in the heat: Maximizing Performance and Safety will be published by Springer soon.

The Korey Stringer Institute

In August 2001, Korey Stringer, an All-Pro offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, died from exertional heat stroke. In April 2010, Kelci Stringer (Korey’s widow), James Gould (Korey’s agent), and the NFL asked Dr. Casa to develop and run the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) at the University of Connecticut. The mission of the KSI is to provide research, education, advocacy, and consultation, to maximize performance, optimize safety, and prevent sudden death for the athlete, warfighter, and laborer.

For the past 18 years, Dr. Casa has worked toward his goals at the Department of Kinesiology, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut. You can read his entire bio here.

Interview Takeaways

In this podcast interview, Dr. Casa explains several important ways schools can be prepared with sound prevention policies and procedures:

  1. Find out where you state ranks in comparison to other states in the rubric provided for KSI on safety and prevention. (See KSI’s State Rankings page here.)
  2. Discover best practices for the four H’s. (Explore KSI’s website under the tab, Emergency Conditions for information on):
      • Heart
      • Heat
      • Head injuries
      • Hemoglobin, sickle-cell trait
  3. Explore affordable and practical ways to be prepared for heat-related incidents.
  4. Be prepared with written emergency plans for multiple settings on and off campus where students practice or perform.
  5. Understand the sickle-cell trait tendencies so that student athletes are appropriately rested and treated.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Dr. Casa also explains how his own story of heat stroke has come full-circle after more than 30-years in a compelling and surprising story he tells at the end this interview. Take time to listen and share this episode with others in your schools or communities who want best practices for keeping activities safe and healthy for students.

Now It’s Your Turn

What are ways you can evaluate your own school or district policies and practices in light of the KSI’s recommendations for best-practices? Do you have emergency plans for practice or competition locations? Study KSI’s state rankings and see where where your policies or procedures may need revisiting.

Source: Principal Matters