University Hospitals Joins Ohio Medical and Sports Experts at FirstEnergy Stadium to Advance Lifesaving Measures for Ohio’s High School Athletes

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Up to 90 percent of sudden deaths among high school student-athletes preventable with best practice policies

CLEVELAND -- University Hospitals (UH) Sports Medicine will join the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), a national sports safety research and advocacy organization supported by the NFL and National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), as part of its “Team Up for Sports Safety” initiative to advance medical practices that reduce sport-related deaths. The meeting, which is being hosted by the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium Wednesday, May 4, 2022, brings together representatives from the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSSA), Ohio Athletic Trainers’ Association (OATA), sports medicine physicians, high school administrators, coaches, and others to discuss ways to make high school sports safer in Ohio.
 
Research has shown that nearly 90 percent of all sudden death in sports is caused by four conditions: sudden cardiac arrest, traumatic head injury, exertional heat stroke, and exertional sickling. It has also shown that adopting evidence-based safety measures significantly reduces these risks and can save lives. According to KSI’s research, states mandate an average of 53.8 percent of policies proven to reduce deaths caused by these conditions. Ohio currently mandates 47.9 percent of the best practice policies.
 
“The Cleveland Browns and I are very excited to be part of a meeting that can impact every student athlete, in every sport, in every high school in the state of Ohio. To create the most up to date recommendations to our state legislators, this meeting will bring together stakeholders invested in the health and safety of our student athletes, from school administrators to first responders and physicians to athletic trainers,” said Rob Flannery, MD, Assistant Cleveland Browns Team Physician and Director of High School and Community Outreach and Education for University Hospitals. “The hope is that those recommendations will make mandatory all of the best practices in the area of student athlete health and safety. Through the Team Up For Sports Safety initiative we can make a better and safer sports environment for all of our athletes and if that saves just one life, then it makes this all worthwhile.” 
 
The meeting will yield best-practice policy language which will be proposed to the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
 
“The OHSAA and our Joint Advisory Committee for Sports Medicine (JACSM) continue to keep the safety of student-athletes and their wellbeing as a top priority,” said Emily Mason, Senior Sport Administrator for Ohio High School Athletic Association. “We are looking forward to discussing the findings from the TUFSS Meeting and evaluating our current practices, areas we need to advance and potentially implement new policies to reduce sports-related injuries and deaths.”
 
Since launching its “Team Up for Sports Safety” (TUFSS) campaign in 2017, Ohio is the 28th state that KSI has visited to work with state leaders to propel health and safety policy adoption forward.  
 
“We know that the implementation of proven health and safety policies will help reduce sport-related fatalities,” said Douglas Casa, Korey Stringer Institute. “We are excited that Ohio is taking action to continue to improve its policies and become a leader in minimizing sport-related high school deaths.”
 
 For more information about the Team Up For Sport Safety initiative, please visit ksi.uconn.edu.

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