Heat-related Illnesses Cause Death Among High School Football Players in US

September 26, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. preseason (n.) [pri-see-zuhn] – period immediately before the start of a regular season when players go through intense training and play in exhibition games
Example: Preseason training is intended to prepare players for an upcoming game.

2. humid (adj.) [hyoo-mid or yoo-] – presence of moisture or water vapor in air ‘(humid air"; "humid weather")
Example: I cannot stand humid weather because I sweat a lot.

3. hyperthermia (n.) [hahy-per-thur-mee-uh] – unusually high body temperature
Example: Hyperthermia is usually caused by infection, certain drugs and medications, or head injury.

4. mortality (n.) [mawr-tal-i-tee] – the number of deaths in a given time
Example: The mortality due to cancer increases every year.

5. customarily (adv.) [kuhs-tuh-mer-ee-lee] – according to what is commonly practiced; traditionally
Example: In some countries, children customarily make “Thank You” for teachers on Teachers’ Day.

Read the text below.

In the US, scientists have observed an increasing number of deaths among high school football players due to heat-related illness. Rising temperature and preseason training are seen to be the major causes.

In addition, football coaches believe that mornings are cooler, so they usually implement their strict twice-a-day trainings and workout routines at this time.

However, Deke Arndt, chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, said that mornings have become hotter and more humid in the past months, and this could put players at risk.2011’s summer had some of the highest temperatures ever recorded, and these temperatures are believed to have resulted in the four cases of football player deaths during practice.

According to the research of Professor Andrew Grundstein from the University of Georgia, between 1960 and 2009, 123 high school athletes died from hyperthermia. The average mortality rate also went up in the last 15 years, which may be caused not only by rising temperatures in summer but also the weight of players and their positions in the team. Among the players, 60% died due to morning heat exposure and two-thirds died during the first two weeks of the preseason. Among the players, 95% were overweight and 85% were linemen.

Due to the increase of heat-related deaths, scientists reminded teams to prioritize their health over victory. Coaches were also advised to learn how to handle heat-related illnesses and also to not let the players wear heavy equipment during the start of the preseason trainings.

Training sessions were also prohibited until the start of the preseason. However, in Texas, practices before school starts are customarily observed to lessen the risks of exhaustion.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         Can playing football be advantageous to overweight people?
·         What sport do you think is suitable for overweight people?

Discussion B

·         Do you think there should be a limit in sport trainings?
What do you think are the disadvantages of too much training?

September 26, 2011