Adapting to Heat: the 14 days parents and athletes need to know about

by Adam Clements and Stephanie Kuzydym – WKRC Local 12

Monday, June 22nd 2020

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- Tyler Heintz was an Ohio farm boy. That's where he got his work ethic.

He knew what it was like to put in long hours under the hot sun.

Three years ago, he was on the football field at Kent State University. On the second day of conditioning, he collapsed. He died of exertional heatstroke.

Temperatures and conditioning for high school sports are heating up.

That’s what has caused concern in heat experts and health care professionals across the country, who are worried how quickly athletes return to high exertion.

Exertional heatstroke is caused by intense exercise in the heat.

The Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), which was founded following NFL player Korey Stringer's death from heatstroke, says the mandatory heat acclimatization guidelines could help save lives.

KSI defines this adjustment as a way for athletes to adapt to heat and its effect on the body in a controlled environment over the course of one to two weeks.

The OHSAA's policy on heat acclimatization requires at least five days of adjustments.

And those are only requirements for cross country, track and field and football.

For all other sports, it's a recommendation.

That's not good enough for KSI's standards or Cincinnati Christian athletic trainer Cory Jacobs.

He's going with a 50-30-10 plan, which allows athletes to recondition back to competition mode.

“So right now you're starting at 50 percent so everything is at 50 percent,” Jacobs said. “So if you're running a mile, you're only doing a half mile.”

Then the next week is at 30 percent, the following week is 10 and the following week is full-go so it's about a four week adjustment period.

Kentucky follows KSI's acclimation guidelines.

Indiana partially does.

Ohio does not.

“There's no cost associated with some of the stuff we're talking about,” KSI heat expert Dr. Doug Casa said. “It is unfortunate that we have to sometimes wait for the tragedy to occur to evoke some kind of policy.”

On June 13, 2017, Tyler Heintz died.

On June 13, 2018, a college football player died of heatstroke.

On June 11, 2019, another high school football player died of heatstroke.

The NCAA implemented heat guidelines back in 2003.

The OHSAA told us it’s made no recent changes to its policy.

We reached out to the Heintz family but received no response.

Worth the wait: New Athletic Training grad program accredited

JUN 19, 2020

It’s been a process three years in the making. Heidelberg University has received accreditation by the Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), and will begin offering a new Master’s of Athletic Training degree in the fall of 2021.

“The Athletic Training faculty and staff are excited to get started and enroll our first cohort in the MAT program next year,” said Ryan Musgrave, AT program director and assistant professor. “We have been very successful in graduating accomplished undergraduate athletic training students over the past years and we plan to continue that successful legacy at the graduate level.”

Heidelberg’s fifth graduate program comes at a time when the demand for athletic trainers across the nation is projected to grow 19 percent by 2028, much faster than the average for most occupations. Additionally, the demand is projected to nearly double among other healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The shift from undergraduate to graduate programs is being mandated by CAATE, which is requiring all colleges and universities to move their athletic training programs from the bachelor’s level to the master’s level. With the shift, Heidelberg becomes the only accredited MAT program at small, liberal arts colleges in northwest Ohio and one of only nine programs in Ohio.

“We are committed to educating our Athletic Training students in and out of the classroom and preparing them for a variety of athletic training settings when they graduate,” Musgrave said. “The clinical and classroom education which we will be able to provide these students will be exceptional, hands-on and unique.”

And it will prepare them for board certification and successful careers. Students who complete the new, two-year Master’s of Athletic Training program will be eligible to become certified athletic trainers – allied healthcare professionals who function as members of a medical team in collaboration with physicians. The career possibilities are widespread: high schools, colleges and universities, rehabilitation clinics, professional sports, hospitals, physician offices, industry, military, law enforcement and other healthcare settings.

Musgrave said athletic training has been a very productive and popular undergraduate major at Heidelberg. “We are confident that this will continue at the graduate level. AT students are not only academic assets to the university but they also fill an important role as clinical students who provide supervised care for our student-athletes as well as the surrounding Tiffin and Seneca County communities.”

Their role as athletic trainers on campus, working with student-athletes, will be reinforced by immersive clinical classes embedded into each semester.