ADVOCATES FOR SAFETY
What to Look for When Dropping Your Kid Off at Football TryoutsFootball tryouts are an especially dangerous time for athletes as the heat and sudden onset of intense physical activity causes the risk of many conditions, injuries and illnesses to skyrocket. If you find yourself dropping off your kid at middle or high school football tryouts over the coming weeks, look for these clues that let you know your school is taking player safety seriously and is prepared in the event of an emergency. If you don’t see these items on-site, ask a coach or athletic trainer if they have them and where they’re located. In many of these instances, it’s just as important that each item is located close by as it is to have them in the first place.
1. Automated External DefibrillatorThe best way to treat the single largest cause of student athlete deaths, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), is through the use of an AED. Without the prompt use of an AED, there is only a 10% chance of surviving SCA. 1
2. Multiple Water Coolers or a Hydration StationWhile it’s hard to give a universal rule on how much water a student athlete should consume since it’s in part based on individual sweat rate, the school should be prepared to provide about a quarter of a gallon to a whole gallon of water per student athlete per hour of activity. 2 With this in mind, be sure to look for multiple 5-gallon water coolers and a water hose or fountain that can be used to fill them appropriately.
3. Cooling TubCold water immersion is essential in preventing death from exertional heat stroke (EHS). Instead of an actual tub, you may see this in the form of a small pool or even a tarp which can be folded into the form of a tub.
4. Heat Stress TrackerThe heat stress tracker measures the Wet Bulb Global Temperature (WBGT), a measurement more useful than temperature or heat index in determing how to adjust physical activity on a hot day. If you see a heat stress tracker at tryouts, you know the school is taking exertional heat stroke seriously. *For more on what heat stress trackers are and the WBGT check out our post on exertional heat stroke
5. Weight ScalesOne great way for your school to reduce the risk of player dehydration is to weigh it’s players before and after practice each day. After weigh out each day, a player knows how much fluid they have to drink before the next practice in order to stay hydrated. If they show up the next day without gaining back that water weight the decision will have to be made to hold them from practice or monitor them carefully throughout.
6. Athletic TrainerAthletic trainers are there to let coaches coach and players play while they are the ones who worry about safety. These medical professionals are specially trained to treat all of the conditions that could be encountered at pre-season tryouts and in the event of emergency know exactly what to do. Learn more about athletic trainers
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About the AuthorKatie Scott, MS, ATC, LAT earned her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Northern Illinois University and her master’s degree in athletic training from Michigan State University where she focused her research efforts towards lower body injury prevention. Before becoming the Athletic Trainer in Residence at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, she served as a post-graduate intern for Northwestern University and an athletic trainer at Kent State University.
- Drezner, J. A., Chun, J. S., Harmon, K. G., & Derminer, L. (2008). Survival trends in the United States following exercise-related sudden cardiac arrest in the youth: 2000–2006. Heart Rhythm, 5(6), 794-799. doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2008.03.001
- Hydration. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2017, from http://ksi.uconn.edu/prevention/hydration/