Heat-illness guidelines meeting resistence
Even with the season started and preseason practices in the rearview mirror, the issue of heat-related illness among high school athletes remains.
Earlier this summer, the National Athletic Trainers study released a study suggesting that high school sports coaches limit two-a-days during preseason practices. The guidelines in the study call for teams to begin summer practice with five days of single-session workouts to allow players to adjust to the summer heat.
When interviewed before the start of summer workouts, most local coaches seemed to question the need for such guidelines. And, according to an Associated Press story released Monday, coaches around the country haven't been any more accepting.
Several coaches at top high school programs told the AP they either hadn't heard of the study or didn't follow its guidelines. Others called the guidelines "too restrictive."
All this will only concern the study's authors. One told the Daily Record/Sunday News last July he hoped the guidelines would force coaches to take what he feels are the necessary precautions.
"Now that there are guidelines, coaches are accountable," said David Csillan, an athletic trainer at Ewing (N.J.) High School. "All it takes is one kid dropping, and a lawyer can pick up these guidelines and say, 'Hey, here are these guidelines. They aren't mandated, but they exist.'"
According the AP story, three high school players died during preseason practices or workouts this year because of suspected heat-related illness. Meanwhile, a former Kentucky high school coach is standing trail for an incident last year when a 15-year-old player collapsed after a series of wind sprints and later died.
No doubt there are a lot of sides to the story. This is one issue I don't see going away anytime soon.