While a lot of emphasis has been recently put on protecting professional and college athletes from suffering serious injuries and their long term consequences, very little is done on a national scale to protect high school athletes. In a recent article in the Health section of the New York Times Jane E. Brody points out that there are still no national guidelines or rules protecting high school athletes and that it is the responsibility of the states and the schools to protect them. Unfortunately most states and schools are lagging behind in implementing serious safety measures. Last year in the US 50 high school athletes died while playing organized school or league sports and thousands of them suffered long term complications from sports related injuries.
Cardiac arrest, head and neck injuries as well as exertion are the most common causes of death among high school athletes. The author indicates that many of these deaths could have been prevented if the high school had:
- an emergency action plan
- specific rules related to enagaging in sports in high humidity or high temperature
- a heath professional present during practices and games
- external defibrillators immediately available (and not locked somewhere in a school office)
The article also looks at real cases of families who’s high school child was seriously injured or died during sports and looks at what can be done to prevent these accidents from happening over and over.
Read the article here