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Duke Medicine: Keeping student athletes safe during summer workouts

Posted August 6, 2012

Rising temperatures and school team summer workouts can be a deadly mix if precautions aren’t in place to prevent potentially fatal exercise-related complications.

Since 2000, nearly two-dozen college football players have collapsed and died during conditioning workouts, many because they were pushed too hard during the first few days.

New guidelines aim to keep young athletes safe by recommending that conditioning workouts work up to maximum intensity, that exercise not be used as punishment, and that coaches be trained in health and safety issues which include knowing the warning signs and how to treat exercise-related complications.

Knowing the coaching staff is reasonable and knowledgeable should put anxious parents at ease, says Tracy Ray, M.D., Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine at Duke University Medical Center.

“There should be no issues if the coaches demonstrate common sense, if there is water available and the kids take frequent breaks,” Ray says. “It’s like leaving your kid at the swimming pool. If a lifeguard is present, you assume that lifeguard will jump in the pool and save your child if needed. There has to be a level of trust with the people coaching your student athlete as well.”

For more information about the warning signs and how to prevent problems, read the original post at DukeHealth.org. Duke Medicine, Go Ask Mom's sponsor, offers health information and tips every Tuesday.

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