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The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) collaborated during a January 2012 meeting to form a committee to discuss and gain insight into the issue of sudden death in collegiate conditioning sessions. As a result of this meeting, the NATA and NSCA made recommendations regarding sudden death and preventative measures that should be taken. With that said, many governing bodies of sports and athletics have now endorsed the committee’s recommendations.
Since 2000, 21 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football athletes have died in the course of conditioning workouts (2).
The three main causes of these deaths were exercise-related sudden death associated with sickle cell trait, exertional heat stroke, and cardiac conditions (1).
Another condition that has been on the rise in collegiate athletics is exertional rhabdomyolysis – a life-threatening condition affecting skeletal muscle and other tissues resulting from overly intense workouts that push athletes beyond their limits (1). As it seems that conditioning workouts may continue to be a channel to possible tragic outcomes, the NCAA Task Force has come up with the following 10 key areas for universities to abide by for the safety of their athletes (1):
The Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Collegiate Conditioning Sessions: Best Practices Recommendations (PDF) by Casa, D, Anderson, S, Baker, L, Bennett, S, et al.
Scott Caulfield is the Performance Center Manager and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the NSCA. HE is responsible for the day-to-day supervision and training of all athletes, interns, and coaches at the NSCA’s 6,000-square-foot Performance Center. He also serves as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Colorado College Men’s Ice Hockey. Scott works diligently to promote the NSCA and its coaches, including work with national governing bodies such as the United States Olympic Committee, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey, and USA Ultimate. He has been a certified member of the NSCA since 2003 and most recently served as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Dartmouth College.
Casa, D, Anderson, S, Baker, L, Bennett, S, et al. The inter-association task force for preventing sudden death in collegiate conditioning sessions: Best practices recommendations. J Athletic Training 47(4): 477-480, 2012.