Sport Safety Policy Changes: Saving Lives and Protecting Athletes

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: Death during sport or physical activity is a tragic and unexpected event. However, with appropriate evidence-based policies in place, death can often be prevented. The top causes of sudden death in sport and physical activity are sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), exertional heat stroke (EHS), head injuries, and exertional sickling. Studies1–3 suggest that more than 90% of sudden deaths in sport are attributable to these 4 causes, with SCA accounting for about 75% of sudden death during sport participation. Although sudden death from the aforementioned causes is not 100% preventable, the implementation of evidence-based safety policies such as emergency planning and access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs), heat acclimatization, instruction on proper tackling techniques (such as the “Heads Up Football” educational program), and sickle cell trait (SCT) screening in targeted populations can dramatically reduce overall risk. American football presents a unique risk profile for head injuries, EHS, and exertional sickling, which have driven many of the policy changes, but best practices for sport safety and emergency planning are relevant across all sports.

Additional Information

Journal of Athletic Training. 2016;51(4). 358-360
Language: English
Date: 2016
sudden death, sport medicine, medical emergency planning

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