Athletic trainers get refresher on heat, other dangers before fall practices start

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – If you’ve been outside Friday and most days this summer you’ve certainly felt the heat. That hot weather presents challenges for student-athletes headed back for practices and more importantly brings a focus to keep them safe.

Starting Monday some fall sports will start practices and Friday 50 athletic trainers from Lincoln Public Schools and surrounding communities are getting a refresher before those get underway.

They gathered at Seacrest Field where they took turns going over how to get ready for those worst-case scenarios.

“It’s something that we don’t have to do often but we want to be prepared in an event that it does come up that were prepared and can act fast for the safety of the athlete,” said Crystal Kjar, the Head Athletic Director at Lincoln Southwest High School.

Friday’s simulations, organized by Bryan Health, included things like taking equipment off if an athlete suffers a potentially serious injury, water immersion, and other methods to submerge athletes in cold water for injuries and using dummies to test for core temperature in the event of heat. -related issues.

“Usually at a football game there will be another athletic trainer on the sidelines so it’s nice to be able to come together and talk about things,” said Cassie Metzner an athletic trainer for Waverly High School. “Learning how to work together with each other knowing who is going to be in charge and who is going to follow that lead.”

That heat is something everyone is thinking about. New this year, replacing the use of a heat index, are instruments known as a wet bulb globe which takes into account things like temperature, humidity, wind speed, and other factors. Which is used to help determine the safety of practicing during those conditions or if they should move it or cancel it altogether.

“Our biggest push I would say with our athletes is the hydration portion you know when you have full pads on you’re going to sweat a lot so you’re going to lose all of that hydration that you did have so you almost have to Re-hydrate to that level and beyond for the next day so that then you can function at full capacity,” Kjar said.

It’s something that hits much closer to home after last season when a Nebraska teen died of a heat-related medical emergency at football practice. Something that’s not forgotten during Friday’s training.

“If that’s not a wake-up call to administrators and coaches and athletic trainers, I don’t know what else is. Knowing that it could happen to any of us at any time these are things we have to do to be prepared because we don’t wanna get in a situation where we have to work through something like that,” said Mark Armstrong the Activities Director at Lincoln Southwest High School.

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