By Deborah Franklin, NPR
For all the benefits of exercise and teamwork to the heart and head, high school athletes still lead the nation in athletics-related deaths. And it doesn’t have to be that way, sports medicine specialists say.
Many student deaths from head and neck injuries, heat stroke, sudden heart trouble and exertion-related sickle cell crises can be prevented, according to a scrum of leading sports doctors, athletic trainers, research physiologists and high school administrators who have endorsed a detailed set of guidelines for keeping high school athletes safe.
Some of the key recommendations for high schools follow.
1. Have a certified athletic trainer available during games and practices. Roughly a third of public high schools and many private ones don’t do that, Casa tells Shots, and it’s a problem during emergencies. “It’s unbelievable,” he says, “that some of the same schools that insist on having a school nurse on hand to handle emergencies from 8 to 2 don’t have a medical professional onsite to make key decisions after school when students are exerting themselves in the heat or under other extreme conditions.” Continue reading