New York State Athletic Trainers' Association Supports Prevention of Sudden Death in Sports

From: Broadway World

Most recently, the NATA released a consensus statement titled, "Preventing  Sudden Death in Secondary School Athletics Programs: Best Practices  Recommendations." The inter-association task force recommendations,  published in the July/August issue of the Journal of Athletic Training (JAT),  provide secondary school officials and involved medical personnel with best  practices for establishing emergency action plans, providing appropriate medical  care, and other educational information to help prevent sudden death in sports.  Focusing on secondary school athletes is essential given that statistics show  this population "leads the nation in athletic-related deaths" according to the  task force publication.

Injuries and conditions of primary concern are head and neck injuries,  including concussions; heat illnesses, specifically exertional heat stroke  (EHS); sudden cardiac arrest (SCA); and exertional sickling. Other areas of  concern that contribute to increased risk for student-athletes include poor - or  lack of - emergency action plans (EAPs); absence of appropriate medical staff,  namely certified athletic trainers (ATs); lack of emergency equipment, like  automated external defibrillators (AEDs); and poor or improper acclimatization  and conditioning plans.

"Most deaths are preventable through proper recognition and emergency  protocols," said Task Force Chair Douglas J. Casa, PhD, ATC, FNATA, FACSM,  director of athletic training, University of Connecticut Neag School of  Education. "These best practice recommendations serve as a roadmap for policy  consideration regarding the safety of secondary school athletes. We have  addressed the leading causes of sudden death in this age group. With continued  education, research and advocacy, we can continue to reduce the number of  fatalities and keep young athletes safe while playing the sports they love."

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