• Sudden Death in Sports: Knowledge and Prevention

    According to the experts, the top causes of sudden death in sport are Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Exertional Heat Stroke (EHS), head injuries and exertional sickling.  This page further defines Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Exertional Heat Stroke (EHS), Exertional Sickling and Asthma and emphasizes our Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) approach to maximizing safety in these areas.

     

    Sudden Cardiac Arrest

    What is sudden cardiac arrest?

    Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart stops beating, abruptly and without warning.  If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

     

    What we are doing in DCPS:

    ·       All athletes are required to have a pre-participation physical exam

    ·       All coaches are CPR/AED certified

    ·       All coaches must watch an approved video on SCA

    ·       At least one AED device is available on each high school and middle school campus

    ·       Athletic trainers create emergency action plans and rehearse them with coaches to expedite care in the event of an emergency

     

    Exertional Heat Stroke


    What is Exertional heat stroke?

     Exertional heat stroke is the second leading cause of sport related death. This occurs when the body’s core temperature rises above an extremely dangerous 104 degree threshold, causing organ systems to begin failing.

     

    What we are doing in DCPS:

    ·       Coaches are encouraged to discuss the importance of proper hydration with their athletes

    ·       Coaches follow FHSAA guidelines for heat acclimatization

    ·       Athletic trainers create emergency action plans and rehearse them to expedite care in the event of emergency

    ·      Policies are in place for monitoring the heat and immediate rapid cooling in the event of heat injury

     

    Exertional Sickling

    What is Exertional Sickling Collapse?

    Exertional sickling occurs in athletes carrying the sickle cell trait.  When the red blood cells (RBC) change shape or “sickle”, it causes a buildup of RBCs in small blood vessels, leading to decreased blood flow. This drop in blood flow leads to a break-down of muscle tissue and cell death, known as fulminant rhabdomyolysis

    What we are doing in DCPS:

    •   All athletes are required to have a pre-participation physical exam

    •   Athletic trainers create emergency action plans and rehearse them to expedite care in the event of emergency

    •   Coaches are given, via the athletic trainer, a list of athletes at risk to aid the athletic trainer with prevention

    Heat acclimatization and hydration protocols set in place by FHSAA and DCPS

     

    Asthma

    What is Asthma?

    Asthma affects the way in which people breathe.  Your airways are like “hollow tree branches” and air sacs are the gas-exchanging “leaves” of your lung tree.  Your airways are surrounded by muscle, like bark covering a tree trunk and its branches.  People with asthma have very “twitchy” airways that tend to become irritated (inflamed) easily.  These airways tend to overreact when they come in contact with a trigger.

    Common triggers include:

    •   Weather change or cold air

    •   Colds, upper respiratory infections, ear or sinus infections

    •   Exercise

    •   Allergens such as pet dander, dust mite, mold, pollen and cockroaches

    •   Irritants such perfumes, cigarette smoke and strong odors

     What happens during an asthma attack?

    1.             The muscles surrounding the airways tighten (bronchospasm)

    2.             Excessive mucus is secreted into the airway. The sticky mucus can plug up the airway

    3.             The airway becomes inflamed and swollen

    4.             With these 3 reactions, your airways become very narrow.  It may become difficult to breathe when you try to push air through the very narrow airways.

     Signs and Symptoms of an asthma attack

    •   Frequent cough worse at night and with exercise 

    •   High-pitched sound (wheezing) made by the lungs while breathing out

    •   Chest tightness

    •   Sucking in of the skin between the ribs (retractions)

    •   Fast breathing at rest and shortness of breath

    •   Difficulty with speaking or eating because of fast breathing

     For up-to-date information on asthma and controlling it, visit http://www.communityasthmajax.org/