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J Athl Train. 2019 Jan;54(1):55-63. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-504-17. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Epidemiology of Exertional Heat Illnesses in National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletes During the 2009-2010 Through 2014-2015 Academic Years.

Author information

1
Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia.
2
Department of Athletic Training, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA.
3
Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
4
Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Exertional heat illnesses (EHIs) among football athletes have been widely researched, but data examining all collegiate sports are limited.

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the epidemiology of EHI in 25 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports.

DESIGN:

Descriptive epidemiology study.

SETTING:

The NCAA Injury Surveillance Program during the 2009-2010 through 2014-2015 academic years.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

A voluntary sample of 166 NCAA institutions over 2048 team-seasons.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Athletic trainers reported EHIs to the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program. Only EHIs sustained during a sanctioned practice or competition were included. The EHI rate, specific diagnoses, and number of emergency transports were measured.

RESULTS:

Overall, 232 EHI events were reported (0.47/10 000 athlete-exposures [AEs]; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.41, 0.53). Football comprised 75% of all EHI events and had the largest rate (1.55/10 000 AEs; 95% CI = 1.32, 1.78). The overall EHI rate was higher in preseason practices (1.16/10 000 AEs) than all other time periods (regular and postseason practices and all competitions; 0.23/10 000 AEs, injury rate ratio [IRR] = 4.96; 95% CI = 3.79, 6.50). This result was retained when examining the individual sports of football (3.65/10 000 versus 0.63/10 000 AEs, IRR = 5.82; 95% CI = 4.18, 8.10), men's soccer (1.11/10 000 versus 0.07/10 000 AEs, IRR = 16.819; 95% CI = 1.89, 138.55), and women's soccer (1.10/10 000 versus 0.05/10 000 AEs, IRR = 22.52; 95% CI = 2.77, 183.05). The EHI rates were highest in states with elevated annual temperatures (1.05/10 000 AEs). Heat cramps (39%), heat exhaustion (27%), and dehydration (29%) were the most common types of EHI. Nineteen athletes with EHI (8%) required emergency transport.

CONCLUSIONS:

Football players continue to experience the most EHIs; however, EHIs can potentially occur in all NCAA sports. Continued emphasis on preseason EHI policies and institution-specific environmental guidelines is needed to address EHI rates.

KEYWORDS:

American football; emergency transport; exercise-associated muscle cramps; heat exhaustion; heat stroke; hyponatremia

PMID:
30668925
DOI:
10.4085/1062-6050-504-17

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