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Heat illnesses are an array of health conditions that arise because of heat exposure. Either intense exercise or environmental temperature can cause such exposure. The diseases range from trivial heat cramps to fatal exertional heatstroke. I have learned that it is possible to prevent heatstroke through proper hydration, dressing in tight-fitting clothing, practicing in the shade, minimizing warm-up time, eating a balanced diet, and getting sufficient sleep (Korey Stringer Institute par.2). Other means of prevention include increasing work out time through slow progress, working with athletic trainers to adhere to acclimatization guidelines, provision of the necessary medical coverage with Extortion Heat Illness (EHI) policies, and educating athletes, coaches, team doctors, and even parents about EHI and its prevention.
Athletic trainers have a role to play in the management of treat heatstroke. For instance, immediate recognition of symptoms is crucial. Some of the indications include diarrhea, muscle cramps, altered consciousness, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, collapse, profuse sweating, weakness, dehydration, irritability, irrational behavior, emotional instability, and rectal temperatures that go beyond 40 degrees. These signs are most likely to occur in hot and humid weather conditions (OTL: Heat Stroke). They may also occur if the athlete is in poor physical shape, or if it is his or her first day in training equipment. Some factors, which predispose athletes to heatstroke, include obesity, history of EHI, lack of sleep, fever, inadequate hydration, inadequate heat acclimatization, and pre-pubescence. Other risk factors include insufficient rest, ignorance about EHI, training gear, delay in symptom recognition, and exposure to high temperatures.
When symptoms are recognized, the athlete should remove all excess clothing and be immersed in ice water for about 30 minutes. If such facilities are not available, the athlete should move to a shade, take a cold shower, and cover the maximum body area with cold and wet towels (Korey Stringer Institute par.5). Proper breathing and air circulation should be maintained. Emergency services should also be called immediately. Athletic trainers should be well educated on EHI. Therefore, they should ensure that their practice areas have cooling facilities and water supply in line with EHI policies. They should also program their workout hours to guarantee minimum temperature. Trainers have an obligation to ensure that athletes are fully aware of the risks of EHI. They should ensure that athletes follow all safety guidelines.
Lightning disasters account for the highest numbers of storm-related fatalities. They occur mostly in months when there are many athletic activities. Lightning strikes can be prevented by going indoors during storms, suspending outdoor activities when storms are suspected to occur, heading to lightning safe facilities, establishing lightning policy within the emergency plan of the facility, and giving education to athletes, coaches, referees, and parents regarding lightning strikes. Other prevention measures include establishing methods of alerting the spectators and athletes of an oncoming storm within the facility. Such practices include a public address system. From the first sign of lightning or a thunderclap, all outdoor activities should be suspended until the weather clears. Outdoor activities should not resume until 30 minutes after the last thunderclap or lightning flash.
Emergency services should be provided to a victim of the lightning strike. The strikes range from minor to severe. Small attacks can be indicated by possible blindness, tympanic rapture, amnesia, deafness, muscle pain, paresthesia, and headache. A moderate one can be detected by comatose, momentary cardiopulmonary standstill, blunt abdominal trauma, 1st, and 2nd-degree burns, and temporary paralysis. Severe symptoms include brain damage, hypoxia, intracranial injuries, and direct trauma fractures. No electric charge is stored in a lightning strike victim. Therefore, it is safe to offer treatment. Treatment should first be provided to the most severe patient to maximize his or her chances of survival. Before victims return to play, they should be checked for neurological damage. They should only return to play if they have fully recovered.
Lightning safety policies are regularly ignored. Many victims of fatal strikes have the option of moving to safety. However, they ignore such a step. Athletic trainers should offer education to athletes about lightning safety. They should ensure that their training facilities have lightning safe zones. They should also ensure that they have the right equipment to offer protection and emergency treatment to victims of lightning strikes to avoid fatalities.
Korey Stringer was a football player who suffered a heat stroke on the field. He died because of the stroke (Korey Stringer Institute par.5). Coaches were not fast enough to recognize the problem. Therefore, emergency treatment was not offered fast enough. The NFL was sued for his death. The compensation money was used to build a foundation that educates parents, athletes, and coaches about athletes’ safety. Apart from Stringer, young football player Tyler also succumbed to the severe effects of heatstroke because adequate emergency treatment was not offered. Tyler was still exposed to the sun’s heat as he waited for emergency services to take him to the hospital. The delay aggravated his condition. The similarity between Tyler and Stringer’s situations was the ignorance of the athletic trainers, which hindered proper emergency care. The case invokes anger in athletes’ families when they lose their members due to ignorance on the side of athletic trainers. There is a need for athletic trainers to be well equipped. They should have proper knowledge of handling cases of EHI, whether mild or extreme. This strategy, in turn, will reduce fatalities among athletes.
Korey Stringer Institute. Heat Illnesses, 2015. Web.
OTL: Heat Stroke. Ex. Prod. Andrew Prowse. Bendigo, Vic.: Video Education Australasia. 2013. DVD.