This past month the AP reported that the number of student athlete deaths is at its highest during conditioning workouts, typically early in the season. It's not uncommon for this first training sessions to feel like a military bootcamp, and coaches can get carried away with plans to build better athletes and push the kids to their max. That's where the problems begin.
Young athletes are not invincible. They can over-exercise, and if a coach ignores basic conditioning principles or health and safety issues, kids can get injured, or worse.
To address these issues, the National Athletic Trainers Association, the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American College of Emergency Physicians have collaborated to create the first consensus guidelines on preventing sudden deaths during such workouts.
The Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Collegiate Conditioning Sessions, include recommendations that coaches are present during all conditioning sessions, that workouts begin slowly and gradually build through the season, not at maximum intensity on day one. They recommend that coaches to be certified in first aid, resuscitation and heart defibrillation. Coaches should also know which athletes have sickle cell trait, and be able to recognize and treat exercise-related complications from the condition.
The National Athletic Trainers' Association has created an online Sports Safety for Youth Coaches course to help teach coaches how to keep the kids safe.
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