The majority of heat-related deaths — 63 percent — occur in the South.

Source: The Post and Courier

High school football coaches — particularly those in the South — should be cognizant of the fact that over the last 20 years, 243 deaths occurred during high school and college football practices and games. Of those deaths, which work out to about 12 per season, the most common causes were heart failure, brain injury and heat illness.

The majority of heat-related deaths — 63 percent — occur in the South. Fortunately, these deaths are largely preventable through limits to the number and length of practices in the first weeks of summer football and recommendations for gradually adding protective equipment.

One piece of equipment that can help coaches avoid heat-related deaths is the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), which requires a special device to measure the outside environment for heat stress. Other pieces of equipment include automated external defibrillators (AEDs). It also helps when coaches are trained in CPR and AED use.

For more on this story, visit The Post and Courier.

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Dan Guttenplan