Context: Recent data on exertional heat illness (EHI) in high school sports are limited yet warranted to identify specific settings with the highest risk of EHI. Objective: To describe the epidemiology of EHI in high school sports during the 2012/2013–2016/2017 academic years. Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Setting: Aggregate injury and exposure data collected from athletic trainers working in high school sports in the United States. Patients or Other Participants: High school athletes during the 2012/2013–2016/2017 academic years. Intervention: High School Reporting Information Online surveillance system data from the 2012/2013–2016/2017 academic years were analyzed. Main Outcome Measures: EHI counts, rates per 10,000 athlete exposures (AEs), and distributions were examined by sport, event type, and US census region. EHI management strategies provided by athletic trainers were analyzed. Injury rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) compared EHI rates. Results: Overall, 300 EHIs were reported for an overall rate of 0.13/10,000 AE (95% CI, 0.11 to 0.14). Of these, 44.3% occurred in American football preseason practices; 20.7% occurred in American football preseason practices with a registered air temperature ≥90°F and ≥1 hour into practice. The EHI rate was higher in American football than all other sports (0.52 vs 0.04/10,000 AE; injury rate ratio = 11.87; 95% CI, 9.22 to 15.27). However, girls’ cross-country had the highest competition EHI rate (1.18/10,000 AE). The EHI rate was higher in the South US census region than all other US census regions (0.23 vs 0.08/10,000 AE; injury rate ratio = 2.96; 95% CI, 2.35 to 3.74). Common EHI management strategies included having medical staff on-site at the onset of EHI (92.7%), removing athlete from play (85.0%), and giving athlete fluids via the mouth (77.7%). Conclusions: American football continues to have the highest overall EHI rate although the high competition EHI rate in girls’ cross-country merits additional examination. Regional differences in EHI incidence, coupled with sport-specific variations in management, may highlight the need for region- and sport-specific EHI prevention guidelines.
Zachary Y. Kerr, Susan W. Yeargin, Yuri Hosokawa, Rebecca M. Hirschhorn, Lauren A. Pierpoint, and Douglas J. Casa
Rebecca M. Hirschhorn, Cassidy Holland, Amy F. Hand, and James M. Mensch
The relationship between athletic trainers (ATs) and physicians is crucial for the continuity of care for patients and can impact the advancement of the athletic training profession. This descriptive study utilized a questionnaire to examine the level of competence physicians believe ATs possess to perform tasks within their scope of practice, as outlined in the Role Delineation Study, 6th ed. Overall, physicians had favorable perceptions of ATs’ competence, with the most favorable perceptions relating to injury/illness prevention and immediate and emergency care. Opportunities should be sought out by ATs to educate physicians on all domains of athletic training practice. Future research should examine how these perceptions may change as athletic training education requirements change.
Rebecca M. Hirschhorn, Jessica L. Phillips Gilbert, Danielle A. Cadet, Tenley E. Murphy, Clinton Haggard, Stephanie Rosehart, and Susan W. Yeargin
American football athletes are frequently hypohydrated before and during activity. Hypohydration increases the risk of exertional sickling in student-athletes with sickle cell trait (SCT). The authors examined weight charts from the 2010/2011 to 2018/2019 seasons at one Division I institution to determine if differences in percentage body mass losses (%BML) exist between those with and without SCT. Seventeen student-athletes with SCT and 17 matched-controls were included. A Bonferroni correction was applied to account for multiple comparisons (0.05/8), resulting in p < .006 considered significant. There was a significant difference for %BML between groups (SCT: 0.84 ± 0.65% vs. control: 1.21 ± 0.71%; p = .002) but not for the number of days %BML exceeded 2% (SCT: 0 ± 1 vs. control: 1 ± 1; p = .016). Implementation of proper hydration strategies minimized %BML in athletes with SCT, decreasing the risk of hypohydration and exertional sickling. The same strategies ensured all players remained below threshold to optimize performance and reduce heat illness risk.