The Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), a national sports safety research and advocacy organization supported by the NFL, today as part of its "Team Up for Sports Safety" initiative is convening dozens of Texas's foremost experts in medicine and sports to develop a policy roadmap to advance medical practices proven to reduce sport-related deaths.
The meeting, hosted by the Dallas Cowboys at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, brought together representatives from the Texas State Athletic Trainers Association, sports medicine physicians, athletic directors, coaches, and others to discuss ways to make high school sports safer in Texas.
"Texas has the one of the richest cultures of high school athletics in the nation. Given the need to keep young athletes safe, the Cowboys are honored to host this Team Up for Sports Safety event at our facility," said Cowboys head athletic trainer Jim Maurer. "We look forward to working with the great group of experts from the National Athletic Trainers Association, Texas State Athletic Trainers Association, The Korey Stringer Institute, and the National Football League with the common goal of providing a safer environment for Texas' youth athletes."
Research has shown that nearly 90% of all sudden death in sports is caused by four conditions: sudden cardiac arrest, traumatic head injury, exertional heat stroke, and exertional sickling. It has also shown that adopting evidence-based safety measures significantly reduces these risks and can save lives.
Texas is focused on advancing policies in five key topic areas: Cold Water Immersion for heat stroke cases; Extreme Weather Modifications for Practices; Emergency Action Plans; Athletic Training Services; and Policies for Strength & Conditioning Sessions. Policies discussed during the meeting are proven to support athlete safety. For example, heat acclimatization policies require progressive introduction of equipment, contact and total practice duration. Where it has been mandated, heat illness has been reduced by 55% while cold water immersion has saved 100% of heat stroke victims when utilized within 10 minutes of the heat stroke.
The meeting will yield best-practice policy language which will be put forth for consideration by either the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) or the state legislature.
Stringer played six seasons in the NFL but tragically passed away due to complications from a heat stroke in 2001 during a practice with the Vikings.