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Athletic Trainers Look For Stricter Guidelines

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Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

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(Las Vegas, NV) Exertional heat stroke (EHS) is on the rise and is currently among the top three reasons athletes die during sport.

Having mandatory state guidelines for heat acclimatization provides a critical standard to protect athletes against exertional heat illnesses, and possibly save lives.

This week in Las Vegas, the National Athletics Trainers’ Association is discussing keeping kids safe while on the practice or playing field.

By not mandating heat acclimatization guidelines, states are failing to protect their athletes, and in fact, are placing them at greater risk for EHS and other heat-related illnesses.

Coaches, school leadership, parents and legislators must push their states to establish guidelines or have inadequate guidelines revised.

Nevada is deficient in it’s guidelines, but is working with the Korey Stringer Institute. The guidelines are listed below.

The Korey Stringer Institute and the NATA suggest the following recommendations:

1.Days 1–5 are the first formal practices. No more than 1 practice occurs per day.

2.Total practice time should not exceed 3 hours in any 1 day.

3.1-hour maximum walk-through is permitted on days 1–5, however there must be a 3 hour minimum between practice and walk-through (or vice versa).

4.During days 1–2 of first formal practices, a helmet should be the only protective equipment permitted (if applicable). During days 3–5, only helmets and shoulder pads should be worn. Beginning on day 6, all protective equipment may be worn and full contact may begin. A.Football only: on days 3–5, contact with blocking sleds and tackling dummies may be initiated.
B.Full-contact sports: 100% live contact drills should begin no earlier than day 6.

5.Day 6–14, double-practice days must be followed by a single-practice day. On single-practice days, 1 walk-through is permitted, separated from the practice by at least 3 hours of continuous rest. When a double-practice day is followed by a rest day, another double practice day is permitted after the rest day.

6.On a double-practice day, neither practice day should exceed 3 hours in duration, and no more than 5 total hours of practice in the day. Warm-up, stretching, cool-down, walk-through, conditioning and weight-room activities are included as part of the practice time. The 2 practices should be separated by at least 3 continuous hours in a cool environment.

7.Because the risk of exertional heat illnesses during the preseason heat-acclimatization period is high, we strongly recommend that an athletic trainer be on site before, during and after all practices.

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