Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field: Some More Education on Exertional Heat Stroke Could go a Long Way (Sports Med Res)
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Some More Education on Exertional Heat Stroke Could go a Long Way

National Collegiate athletic association strength and conditioning coaches’ knowledge and practices regarding prevention and recognition of exertional heat stroke.

Valdes AS, Hoffman JR, Clark MH, and Stout JR. J Strength Conditioning Res. 2014; 28(11), 3013-3023.

Take Home Message: While multiple certifications exist for strength and conditioning coaches, both the CSCS and SCCC do not adequately prepare coaches to recognize or prevent exertional heat stroke during high-intensity training sessions.

Strength and conditioning coaches (SCC) are vital parts of the sports medicine team, often designing, implementing, and supervising strengthening and conditioning programs. They sometimes work in environments where athletes are at an increased risk exertional heat stroke. Understanding SCC’s knowledge and practices regarding exertional heat stroke will allow certifying bodies to change their curriculum to better address exertional heat stroke, thus providing preventative care for athletes. Therefore, Valdes and colleagues completed a survey study to assess the SCC’s knowledge of exertional heat stroke and attempt to identify any differences between certification types (CSCS vs. SCCC). The researchers developed as online survey which was pilot tested and validated. All 1,305 NCAA SCC’s with published emails were invited to participate. Respondents were categorized into 4 groups (36% CSCS certification only, 14% SCCC certification only, 19% dual certification, and 30% no certification). A total of 319 (24%) respondents completed the survey. Overall, SCC with no certifications scored lower than those with a certification. Only 2.2% of respondents scored > 90% and 47% score 59%.

These new findings suggest that SCC could benefit from changes in their curriculum or continuing education that address the prevention and recognition of exertional heat stroke. While certifying bodies should consider additional competencies or training regarding exertional heat stroke, the current data can also be considered a call for other members of the sports medicine team to coordinate with SCC’s at their institutions regarding proper recognition and immediate care for exertional heat stroke. As a team we need to develop protocols and emergency action plans not only for practices and games but also for other training sessions. We should encourage frequent discussions among the members of the sports medicine team about how we can better prevent and recognize heat-related illnesses. A well devised and implemented emergency action plan will allow any athlete who suffers from exertional heat stroke to get the best care from those who are adequately trained, as quickly as possible.

Questions for Discussion: How often does your sports medicine team, including the strength coaches, meet to discuss heat-related illnesses and emergency action plans? Are multiple members of the sports medicine team available at training sessions to provide adequate care if an athlete were to suffer from EHS?

Written by: Kyle Harris
Reviewed by:  Jeffrey Driban

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Valdes, A., Hoffman, J., Clark, M., & Stout, J. (2014). National Collegiate Athletic Association Strength and Conditioning Coaches╩╝ Knowledge and Practices Regarding Prevention and Recognition of Exertional Heat Stroke Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28 (11), 3013-3023 DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000365

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