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Riana R. Pryor, Robert A. Huggins and Douglas J. Casa

The aim of the recent Inter-Association Task Force held in Washington, D.C. at the 2013 Youth Safety Summit determined best practice recommendations for preventing sudden death in secondary school athletics. This document highlights the major health and safety practices and policies in high school athletics that are paramount to keep student athletes safe. The purpose of this commentary is to review the findings of the document developed by the task force and to provide possible areas where research is needed to continue to educate medical practitioners, players, coaches, and parents on ways to prevent tragedies from occurring during sport.

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Riana R. Pryor, Douglas J. Casa, Susan W. Yeargin and Zachary Y. Kerr

All high schools should implement exertional heat illness (EHI) safety strategies. We determined if there were differences in the implementation of EHI safety strategies between schools with and without additional paid athletic trainers (ATs) or a team physician present at preseason football practices. High schools with multiple ATs or a team physician implemented more EHI prevention and management strategies than schools with only a single AT, including training staff in EHI recognition and treatment and having an emergency action plan. However, schools with a paid team physician were more likely to have double practices in the first week of football practice. Schools with additional medical personnel at football preseason practices were more likely to implement EHI safety strategies.

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Riana R. Pryor, Summer Runestad, Bethany A. Chong Gum, Nathan J. Fuller, Moon Kang and Jennifer J. Beck

Athletic trainers (ATs) prevent and treat sport-related and catastrophic injuries due to physical activity. However, not all secondary schools hire ATs to provide medical care. The purpose of this study was to determine athletic training services available in California secondary schools. Approximately half (51%, 143/278) of California secondary schools reported hiring an AT, however, only 35% (87/251) of schools hired a certified AT. Schools without an AT most commonly hired a paramedic, emergency medical technician, coach, or athletic director to provide medical care. Nearly two-thirds of California secondary schools lack an AT, dramatically fewer schools than the nationwide average of 70% of public and 58% of private secondary schools with a certified AT.