Expert to Tell How to Protect Young Athletes from Injury, Death

Casa directs institute named for NFL lineman who died of heat exertion

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Douglas Casa

Douglas Casa

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Douglas Casa is bringing a message to Arkansas about preventing death and serious injuries among young athletes, a message that is spreading across the United States.

Casa, chief operating officer of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, will present "Top 10 Ways to Prevent Sudden Death in Sport" at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 29. Casa's talk, which will be in Room 103 of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building, is sponsored by the graduate athletic training education program in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. It is free and open to the public.

Casa's organization is working with 10 state high school athletic associations across the country to review their recommendations for handling heat-related illness. Casa is also a professor of kinesiology and researcher in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. He directs the athletic training education program there.

Heat stroke death due to exertion is one of the leading causes of sudden death in sport, according to the Korey Stringer Institute. Exertional heat stroke is characterized by a core body temperature of more than 104 degrees, central nervous system dysfunction and multiple organ system failure induced by strenuous exercise, often occurring in hot environments, according to the institute's definition.

Many cases could be prevented if more emphasis were placed on requiring athletes to drink adequate fluids, giving them time to adjust to hot conditions over a period of several days and providing access to on-site medical care, Casa's research has found.

Casa will talk about other causes of injury and death among athletes, including concussion and spinal injuries.

"Doug Casa is one of the leading authorities on heat-related illness and prevention," said Jeff Bonacci, coordinator of the University of Arkansas graduate athletic training education program. "We wanted to bring him to our campus so that he can share his expertise, particularly in light of heat-related deaths and injuries in Arkansas in recent years.

"Dr. Casa has been instrumental in helping states establish heat protocols for high school athletes, and he recently worked with the state of Georgia to get new procedures in place regarding heat acclimatization," Bonacci continued. "People in our area who work with high school athletes will take away information from this presentation about preventive measures to reduce sudden death in sport and specifically what preventive measures athletic trainers and coaches can take."

Casa was interviewed last year for the PBS production by Frontline called "Football High." The documentary examined high school football in Arkansas, particularly the success of the Shiloh Christian program in Springdale and recent deaths and serious injuries of high school football players in Arkansas.


Jeff Bonacci, program director, athletic training education
College of Education and Health Professions

Heidi Stambuck, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions

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