Coaches and friends. What we know is this. A few kids are dead this season and more kids are fallen on the practice fields. It is hot- too hot to practice in many cases. Yesterday in California 4 kids went down and were hospitalized and they were not in pads. Our NFHS protocols call for all sorts of modifications when it is hot and believe me you guys better have a way to monitor humidity and heat and have someone on your staff tracking it. Coaches who fail to do this are setting themselves up for charges both criminal and punitive if they do not. It is an impossible situation and I am sorry but the only thing we can suggest is back it off. The rules State you have to exercise and use an "Abundance of Caution" and in many cases we are seeing more tacit caution.
"Four California Area football players were hospitalized with dehydration symptoms Monday during the team's first two-a-day practice session.
All four were taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, one by emergency medical helicopter.
First-year coach Darrin Dillow said the latter player was injured previously and was not in pads when he fell ill. He was at practice, taking part in a conditioning drill.
“He was running and said his back was hurting a little, and then he went down,” Dillow said.
The youth was placed in an ice bath to cool his body, Dillow said.
Three of the four players were overcome during the evening session, held without pads.
Dillow said Monday night that he had spoken with the parents of three of the four boys. At presstime, they were receiving intravenous fluids and were being evaluated."
Worse then that is the sad case of Tekarian Maclin. He died 3 weeks ago from heat related illness just a day after his team mate fell to the heat - so ill he will never play again.
Over 3,000 people including our staff have signed a petition to require the District Attorney to complete a full investigation of what happened and determine if his life was needlessly taken.
The day before Tekarian died another player on his team fell to heat and had a very close call; his Mother says he will never play football again. The argument now is that the Heat Index, which was 104, was within the legal limit although at the top of it. But that does not make it all ok! Caution and an abundance of it has to be used. And truly we don't even know what all causes heat stroke- we think it is heat when in fact many experts and Doctors know it is much more. Big men, linemen, are most subject to heat stroke as their bodies heat and cool much less quickly due to the massive surface areas involved. And conditioning can deplete Oxygen levels in the blood if done wrong and this adds to the issue.
Trainer Mike Craven has dedicated his life to getting to the real answers of what is happening out there on the field. For him he sees this being more about the faster pace of the game, more massive athletes, and the bodies issues with managing these new demands.
"These deaths or near deaths are coming from a failure to learn what we can do better and that clearly this duty of care is OWED to the athlete. The point I want to make is with the game of football changing to high tempo we have players that can be producing more heat than there circulatory system can release. Pushing players in high intensity movements that are repeated though practices before training there aerobic systems as a strength is what can exceed exercise and heat tolerance of the player and be defined as overexertion."
It is not lack of hydration says Craven but in fact the athletes inability to circulate blood and oxygen to cool itself that leads to many of our modern day deaths and illnesses. He is right that back in the day where players were denied water (and many of you guys remember this) fewer athletes died. The average linemen 30 years ago in High School was below 200 pounds and now it is closer to 300 at many schools. Craven says we have to train athletes and measure their VO2 levels- their ability to shed this heat - it is tough for a very hot athlete to be cooled off with water and ice when the internal furnace and system is not circulating blood. It is complicated but makes total sense.
Cory Stringer is dead. Here is the story of Stringer and High School player Will James and Tyler Davenport. One made it and one did not. Tekarian Maclin joined their fight this season and he is now gone.
PLEASE watch this report and learn folks
Comment from world class trainer and researcher Mike Craven -
"2 years ago a young man at Highland Springs High School had Exertional Heat Stroke after football practice. His name was CORY THOMAS and was 2 weeks in hospital and survive. His CK levels a measure of muscle damage from heat stroke were 80,000 in hospital and normal is 174 . His CK LEVELS never got back to normal and was kept out of all sports the next year as a safety precaution. I presented this presentation to Children Hospital how low heat tolerance is related to low Peak Vo2 scores(aerobic capacity). When I tested the Cory peak Vo2 he was 31ml/kg/min which the American College of Sports Medicine states in their Position stand as a high risk for Exertional Heat Stoke. In 5 months of training off his test data and Children’s Hospital checking his CK levels the young man got his Peak Vo2 score up to 52ml/kg/min. At the same time the young man’s CK scores improve to normal and the Doctors release him to play football this year. With this success story
Coach Johnson of Highland Springs had me schedule that night of the day this year he had a player go down with EHS to test his teams Peak Vo2 scores so we could Indentify the players who had the lowest and highest heat tolerance. The player was in hospital for 4 weeks and his CK levels were 300,000. He survive. Morgan State University had a player die last year of EHS after 2weeks in hospital.
STATEMENT No one really knows why this happen it was only a conditioning workout. Ninety percent of EHS and SICKLE CELL come from what coaches are doing when conditioning.
These deaths or near deaths are coming from a failure to learn what we can do better that clearly this duty of care is OWE to the athlete. The point I want to make is with the game of football changing to high tempo. We have players that can be producing more heat than there circulatory system can release because of low Vo2 scores . Testing allows us to Indentify and use data to prepare to prevent in which coaches learn how to train players to be more heat fit before being expose to Environmental and Metabolic heat gain. Norfolk State University has been doing this program this year after Coaches, Sports Medicine, and Strength and Condition review. Please contact me when you can see a presentation.
we want to show how the aerobic system needs to be train to increase the body’s heat tolerance . Metabolic heat production exceeding cardio capacity becomes heat that is gain to being heat that is stored and this can happen even when 100% hydrated if Vo2 is low enough. Education, Evaluation, and Exercise Prescription is how we can provide what is missing in the duty of care that every football player deserves. When someone is ask to give best effort in a repeat manner without knowing exercise or heat tolerance this is guessing or hoping that everybody’s body will respond to a specific adaption to impose demand. Indentify, prepared to prevent, and have an EAP. Let’s use our leadership to work together.
DR CLOSE, DR DODEK, DR BOSAK