Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Thirteen football players died during 2003 season, none from heatstroke

01.07.2004


For the second year in a row, researchers found no deaths due to heatstroke among young U.S. football players during the 2003 season, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows.

Between 1995 and 2001, 21 players died from heatstroke, an average of three a year, said Dr. Frederick Mueller, professor and chair of exercise and sport science in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“Again this year we have good news to report because we have been concerned about the heatstroke toll,” Mueller said. “Heat-related deaths in sports are almost entirely preventable. When they happen, it means someone forgot to emphasize or practice what coaches and trainers have been told for years -- players should get all the water they want in practice and have frequent cooling-off breaks to prevent these tragedies.”



Three players died during 2003 as a direct result of injuries suffered on the field, including two in high school and one in youth football, he said. Two fatalities came following severe head injuries and a third after an injury to a neck artery. “We wish, of course, that none of these injury deaths occurred, but the numbers are low compared to the 1960s and 1970s,” Mueller said. All three fatal injuries in 2003 happened during games, he said.

“Seven others died during 2003 in ways not directly tied to the game but more from natural causes probably provoked by strenuous exercise,” Mueller said. “Four happened among high school students, one in college, one in youth football and one in professional arena football. Of the seven, all four high school, the youth football and the arena football deaths came from heart-related causes, while the cause of the college death remains unknown.” Three other players died in ways not linked to the sport, including two who died in their sleep.

Mueller, chairman of the American Football Coaches’ Committee of Football Injuries, directs the UNC-based National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injuries. Each year, the center produces reports on deaths and severe injuries from amateur and professional sports. Its goal is to make football and other sports safer, he said.

Reports are based partly on newspaper stories from around the United States collected and submitted by about 150 volunteers who monitor sports accidents, along with information from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations.

That 36 young men died in 1968 as a direct result of football injuries shows how much safer the game has become through rule, equipment, medical and coaching changes that came about in part because of data Mueller and others collected. No such deaths occurred in 1990.

“We also found 17 cases of permanent disability from catastrophic injuries in football last year, including nine from neck and eight from head injuries,” Mueller said. Coaches need to remind players often that the head has no place in football, he said. No one should make first contact with his -- or her -- head when blocking and tackling. That’s against the rules, but more importantly, it’s dangerous.

Shorter practices and non-contact drills during which players don’t wear helmets can help prevent heatstroke and reduce accidents, Mueller said. Players should be allowed as much water as they wish, and coaches should schedule regular cooling-off breaks.

Coaches and trainers ought to keep a close eye on temperature and humidity, especially in August and September, he said. Practices should be held early or late in the day, and if it’s too hot, coaches need to consider canceling them for a day or so until temperatures and humidity drop.

“Players must be encouraged to tell coaches or trainers if they don’t feel good,” he said. “They should never be made to feel weak if they are having trouble. Although many coaches used to do that and thought it was the right thing, now we understand that’s a potentially deadly prescription for disaster.”

Between 1960 and 2003, 101 players died from heatstroke, Mueller said. Eight players died from heatstroke in 1970 alone, the highest one-year total. Before 1955, no heatstroke deaths were recorded among football players. Few schools and homes could afford air-conditioning, and it was likely players were better acclimated to hot weather.

Mueller and other experts strongly recommend pre-practice physical examinations for boys -- and the small number of girls -- who want to play football. Such exams sometimes reveal hidden conditions that make heavy exertion dangerous. Parents should make sure their children are insured against catastrophic injury and that medical assistance is available during practices and games.

“Parents should be involved in their sons and daughters’ athletic teams so that they can help guarantee that coaches are teaching the proper fundamentals and that proper precautions are being taken to reduce tragedies,” he said. “Recent policies adopted by trainers and coaches probably will be helpful since they require that players with concussions or other head injuries to get immediate medical attention and not be allowed to return to play until cleared by medical authorities.

A Yale University faculty member began the yearly football death and injury survey in 1931. It moved to Purdue University in 1942 and has been at UNC since 1965. The American Football Coaches Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations sponsor the national study.

About 1.5 million junior high school and high school students play football in the United States each year. Colleges and universities field about 75,000 players.

Co-author of the new report is Jerry L. Diehl, assistant director of the Federation of State High School Associations. Dr. Robert C. Cantu, chair of surgery and chief of neurosurgery at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., and medical director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at UNC, compiled the report’s medical data.

David Williamson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>