State-Level Implementation of Health and Safety Policies Pertaining to Preventing Sudden Death and Catastrophic Injury in Secondary School Athletics

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William M. Adams, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Background: Sudden death and catastrophic injuries during sport can be attenuated with the implementation of evidence-based health and safety policies. However, the extent of the implementation of these policies within secondary school athletics is unknown. Purpose: To provide an assessment of the implementation of health and safety policies pertaining to the leading causes of sudden death and catastrophic injuries in sport within secondary school athletics in the United States. Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: A rubric for evidence-based practices for preventing the leading causes of death and catastrophic injuries in sport was created. The rubric comprised 5 equally weighted sections for sudden cardiac arrest, head injuries, exertional heat stroke, appropriate medical coverage, and emergency preparedness. State high school athletic association (SHSAA) policies, enacted legislation, and Department of Education policies were extensively reviewed for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. States meeting the specific criteria in the rubric, which required policies to be mandated for all SHSAA member schools, were awarded credit; the weighted scores were tabulated to calculate an aggregate score. States were then ranked from 1 (best) to 51 (worst) based on the aggregate score achieved. Results: The median score on the rubric was 47.1% (range, 23.00%-78.75%). States ranked 1 through 10 (from 78.75% to 56.98%) were North Carolina, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Dakota, Missouri, Washington, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Georgia, respectively. States ranked 11 through 20 (from 56.03% to 50.55%) were Arkansas, New York, Mississippi, West Virginia, Oregon, Illinois, Tennessee, Arizona, Texas, and District of Columbia, respectively. States ranked 21 through 30 (from 49.40% to 44.00%) were Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Mexico, Alabama, Maine, Rhode Island, Indiana, Nevada, and Utah, respectively. States ranked 31 through 40 (from 43.93% to 39.80%) were Ohio, Delaware, Alaska, Vermont, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Idaho, and South Carolina, respectively. States ranked 41 through 51 (from 38.73% to 23.00%) were Michigan, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Kansas, Wyoming, Minnesota, Montana, Iowa, California, and Colorado, respectively. Conclusion: State scores ranged from 23.00% to 78.75% for the implementation of evidence-based best practices for preventing the leading causes of sudden death and catastrophic injuries (sudden cardiac arrest, traumatic head injuries, exertional heat stroke, and exertional sickling) in sport. Continued advocacy for the development and implementation of policies at the secondary school level surrounding sudden death and catastrophic injuries is warranted to optimize the health and safety of these student athletes.

Additional Information

Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017;5(9):2325967117727262
Language: English
Date: 2017
sudden cardiac death, exertional heat stroke, traumatic head injuries, emergency action plans, preparticipation examination

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