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College Athlete Deaths in Workouts Spur New Guidelines
Date:6/27/2012

WEDNESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- The sudden death of a growing number of college athletes during conditioning sessions has prompted a task force, led by the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), to issue new safety recommendations for these workouts.

NATA said the guidelines are designed to provide doctors, trainers, coaches and athletes with ways to prevent sudden deaths among young athletes, particularly those with underlying heart conditions.

"Strength and conditioning sessions have become fundamental to success in collegiate sports," task force chair Douglas Casa, director of athletic training at University of Connecticut Neag School of Education, and chief operating officer of the Korey Stringer Institute, noted in an NATA news release. "However, the athletes' development, health and safety are sometimes overshadowed by a culture that values making athletes tough, instilling discipline and focusing on success at all costs. This ill-conceived philosophy has been a contributor to the alarming increase in collegiate athlete deaths and serious injuries during conditioning sessions."

Over the past 12 years, 21 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football players died during conditioning sessions, which typically involve activities such as sprinting, lifting weights and mat drills. Of these deaths, 75 percent involved Division 1 players. NATA noted 11 of the athletes died during the first or second day of training, suggesting they did not have enough time to get used to their workouts.

Rodger Saffold, an offensive tackle with the St. Louis Rams who was drafted from Indiana University three years ago, admitted that athletes often overexert themselves, so it's critical for trainers and coaches to provide guidance to ensure their safety.

"As a former collegiate player, I often pushed myself too far. . . These guidelines today will prevent just that and I'm glad to be a part of such a
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