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Sanford Aiding Fight Against Heat Related Injuries

Sanford Sports Medicine is in the business of saving lives, and it's hoping a very small-scale donation with help spread that mission within area high schools.

At a price of just $7-dollars apiece, Sanford has provided ice-water immersion pools for the athletic programs at Brandon Valley, Sioux Falls Christian, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Director of the National Institute for Health and Performance, Dr. Michael Bergeron says the idea is to give the schools the necessary tools to combat the effects of heat-related illnesses.

"The key on saving a footbal player's life that's overheating is to get them cooled as fast as possible," Bergeron said. "The quickest, most effective way to do it is with ice water immersion. Its been shown in a lot of research, and its far superior than any other metody of putting ice over somebody, or fans, or wet towels. Clearly ice water immersion quickly, rapidly cools them."

While ice water immersion isn't new to the medical community, its use has become more prevalant in recent months. In January a Kentucky high school football coach was arraigned on charges of reckless homicide. A player under his supervision collapsed and died during practice last year.

"It's human nature. You respond to crisis. And, unfortunately, it'll probably take a case like this to raise enough eyebrows and alert enough coaches that this is real, 'I could really be in trouble,'" Bergeron said. "Hopefully, it encourages them and motivates them to do the right thing so they don't have this situation on their own hands."
Bergeron says many of the heat-related deaths associated with high school football could have been prevented with ice water immersion. He says simply waiting for the ambulance is one of the worst things you can do.

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