While watching Sportscenter this morning before coming into the Mt. Pleasant office of Howell and Christmas, your Charleston car accident lawyers saw ESPN’s College Football Analyst, Jesse Palmer, talk with the new head coach of the Florida Gators, Will Muschamp. One aspect of the conversation that caught our attention was that of the health and safety of the players during preseason training. It goes without saying that heat indexes over 100 degrees are not conducive to intense football practices. Furthermore, such extreme physical activity in the Southeast’s extreme heat presents the risk of serious injury and death.
The Gators, and other teams in the nation’s best college football conference, the Southeastern Conference, are taking serious measures to prevent heat-related injuries by holding practices in the early morning and evening to keep their players out of the hottest part of the day. Also, coaches and staff are posting notes around facilities to remind players to keep hydrated.
While the premier college football programs in the nation have nearly unlimited resources when it comes to medical staff, cooling fans, ice baths, Gatorade, etc., under funded high school and their programs have a much harder time when it comes to tackling the Summer’s toughest player, the heat.
This isn’t the first time the South Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog has contrasted the well-financed world of college and professional football to the often-undercapitalized programs found at the high school level. Back in October 2010, there were several entries that noted that many South Carolina high school programs lack the resources to maintain training and medical staff to deal with severe brain injuries and concussions, as well as heat-related injuries during preseason practices.
Earlier this month, a rising ninth-grader at Lamar High School, located near Florence and Darlington, collapsed and died after a Saturday morning practice. It was only the second day of light practice for the team, which means they were in helmets, but without pads. According to reports, the 14-year-old player was complaining of cramps when walking off the field, before collapsing and being transported to a local hospital, where, sadly, he died hours later. The fact that such a sad incident occurred after only being on the field for an hour or so, goes to show that high temperatures pose a very real and serious threat to the health of the players and that the summer heat is probably the hardest hitting opponent teams will face all season.
Following the fatal accident, practices resumed. But, the atmosphere around the team has changed drastically. Grief counselors were made available to the players and an investigation has commenced to make sure, or to find out, if the team’s hydration policy was observed. According to the Darlington County School System’s public information officer, workouts were being conducted in 20-minute intervals, separated by five-minute water breaks. The Darlington County Schools’ hydration policy couldn’t be located online, but clicking here will take you to Greenville County’s comprehensive “Heat Guidelines.”
But, your South Carolina on the job injury attorneys, know it isn’t just our State’s athletes that are at risk of heat-related injuries. Anyone who steps outside to do any kind of work outdoors (construction, road maintenance, etc.) this time of year needs to be mindful of the heat and take appropriate measures to make sure they safe. Hydration is of the utmost importance, but it is also important to take frequent breaks to allow the body to cool down, as well as wear light clothing to help keep cool and a wide brimmed hat to protect from the sun.