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This report estimates that approximately 9,000 cases of heat illness that occur among high school athletes annually, which is a rate of 1.6 per 100,000 athlete-exposures. Heat illnesses occurred most frequently during August (66.3 percent) and while practicing or playing football (70.7 percent). Consistent with guidelines from the National Athletic Trainers' Association, to reduce the risk for heat illness, high school athletic programs should implement heat-acclimatization guidelines (such as setting limits on summer practice duration and intensity) and ensure that all medical staff, coaches, athletes, and parents/guardians are trained in the early recognition and treatment of heat illness. Coaches also should continue to stress to their athletes the importance of maintaining proper hydration before, during, and after sports activities. When heat illness occurs, prompt recognition and response can be life-saving.
August 19, 2010