According to researchers, most high school football players who die from heat-related illness are:
According a Reuters story scientists and climatologists say the risks for high school football players are higher than ever in this record-heat, drought-stricken summer.
“Just in the past month, morning temperatures have been higher across the country than they have ever been, Deke Arndt, chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, said on the teleconference.”
“That raises the risks even further for players whose coaches believe mornings are less risky, the group said.”
“Some 123 players died from heat exhaustion between 1960 and 2009, said Andrew Grundstein, an associate professor at University of Georgia who has studied hyperthermia among high school players.”
“The annual death rate has increased from an average of about one per year in the 1980s to a 2.8 yearly average in the last 15 years, possibly due to higher annual temperatures and bigger players, he said.”
“In recent decades, 95 percent of those players were overweight, 60 percent died after heat exposure in the morning hours, 85 percent were linemen, and a full two-thirds of them died in the first two weeks of the preseason, Grundstein said.”
I am fascinated with this explanation of why more and more young men are dying on the football field. I haven’t read before this specific profile of the players more likely to die. (The deaths often seem to be attributed to an underlying heart condition that the player was unaware of but this seems to indicate it’s more likely other factors.)
I hope that coaches read this article and take heed when planning practices and watching players who may be more likely to have problems
Send this article to your high school football families and coaches so they will understand the risks and may not underestimate the potential threat of high-humidity morning practice.
So what do you think: Does this statistical profile make sense? What should football programs do to stay competitive but not inadvertently hurt our kids?