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Stanford University School of Medicine

Sports medicine specialists, educators endorse checklist to reduce injuries among youth athletes

Growing up in Texas, I always dreaded the beginning of the fall soccer season - when grueling after-school trainings coincided with peak daily temperatures. Our coaches lectured us about staying hydrated, but it wasn't uncommon for someone on the team to collapse from heat exhaustion.

So I was interested to read about recently released guidelines (.pdf), which have been endorsed by sports doctors, athletic trainers, research physiologists and high school administrators, aimed at preventing youth athletics-related injuries, or worse death. A Shots piece published today highlights some of the recommendations, including:

Have an (automated external defibrillator) within easy reach during practices and games to jump-start a heart that suddenly fails. "Cardiac problems are becoming much more survivable, but the AED has to be out on the field with the athletic trainer and on the kid's chest within a minute after the heart stops to save a life," says [Douglas Casa, PhD, who helped draft the guidelines]. Running inside the school to pull the device from the hallway case isn't fast enough, he says.

Have water freely available at all times, and give student athletes a tightly structured, several-day acclimatization period at the start of every season — especially in summer — with shorter, less intense practices that will help their bodies adjust to the big shifts in heat and exertion of a full game or regular practice.

Previously: Should high-school and college athletes be routinely screened for heart conditions?, When can athletes return to play? Stanford researchers provide guidance, ECG screening of young athletes is cost-effective way to save lives and Stanford team writes new recommendations for reading athletes’ ECG results
Photo by lothlaurien

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