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 A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure
24.11.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

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: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>