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Letter: Vast majority of deaths in sports are preventable

Vast majority of deaths in sports are preventable

Our society is trying to make high school sports safer. Here are some facts that you may find interesting. Athletic trainers are licensed health care professionals educated and trained to recognize, treat and prevent injuries in sports under the supervision of a medical doctor. A 2010 effort by the Youth Sports Safety Alliance has collected data from across the country showing that 48 children between the ages of 8 and 18 died (three from head injuries suffered while participating in school athletics, 21 from sudden cardiac death, three from heat illness, one from exertional sickling and 20 from unknown causes) from the months of January to October. In 2011, it found only 44 high school students died from conditions suffered while participating in high school athletics, and that included some data from November. This data was presented to Congress on Dec. 6, 2011, with the idea that an overwhelming majority of these deaths were preventable.

The Youth Sports Safety Alliance has a very prestigious membership listed on its website. Unfortunately, the list of conditions that have proven to be fatal is growing. The current list of fatal conditions includes asthma, catastrophic brain injury, cervical spine injury, diabetes, exertional heat stroke, exertional sickling, lightning, sudden cardiac arrest and exertional hyponatremia. One important fact from a 2008 study revealed that 62 percent of injuries in organized sports occur in practice sessions. Please make your school’s board of education aware of your knowledge of these facts.

Michael Steinagel, A.T.

Grand Island