Safety Rankings Spark Debate

August 11, 2017

A recently published study conducted by the Korey Stringer Institute, ranked states’ implementation of evidence-based best practices for preventing and managing sudden death in secondary school athletics. The assessments evaluated five equally weighted sections—emergency preparedness, exertional heat stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, traumatic head injuries, and appropriate medical coverage.

An article from the Hartford Courant  explains that researchers brought together policies focusing on leading causes of catastrophic injury and sudden death from public high school athletic associations across the country, the Department of Education, and legislation for the 2017 to 2017 academic year. The assessments were made with a rubric that considered whether the policies were required—points were not allotted if the policies were only recommended.

“We know the implementation of these important health and safety policies has dramatically reduced sport-related fatalities at both the collegiate and national level,” Professor Douglas Casa, executive director of the Korey Stringer Institute, told UConn Today. “We hope these findings will motivate states to take appropriate action to protect the tens of thousands of young athletes in their care.”

Despite these efforts, responses to the study have been mixed. The National Federation of State High School Associations posted a statement criticizing the study and its methods.

“Very simply, a review of state association websites, such as the one employed by KSI, is an incomplete measurement of the efforts employed by states to assist their member schools with heat, heart and head issues. Providing more research data, as well as funds to enact more prevention programs, would be much more useful than giving grades to these associations,” Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director, wrote in the statement.

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