Roundtable on preseason heat safety in secondary school athletics: Prehospital care of patients with exertional heat stroke

Kevin C. Miller*, Douglas J. Casa, William M. Adams, Yuri Hosokawa, Jason Cates, Christina Emrich, Tony Fitzpatrick, Michael Hopper, John F. Jardine, Michele LaBotz, Rebecca M. Lopez, Francis O’Connor, M. Seth Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: First, we will update recommendations for the prehospital management and care of patients with exertional heat stroke (EHS) in the secondary school setting. Second, we provide action items to aid clinicians in developing best-practice documents and policies for EHS. Third, we supply practical strategies clinicians can use to implement best practice for EHS in the secondary school setting. Data Sources: An interdisciplinary working group of scientists, physicians, and athletic trainers evaluated the current literature regarding the prehospital care of EHS patients in secondary schools and developed this narrative review. When published research was nonexistent, expert opinion and experience guided the development of recommendations for implementing life-saving strategies. The group evaluated and further refined the action-oriented recommendations using the Delphi method. Conclusions: Exertional heat stroke continues to be a leading cause of sudden death in young athletes and the physically active. This may be partly due to the numerous barriers and misconceptions about the best practice for diagnosing and treating patients with EHS. Exertional heat stroke is survivable if it is recognized early and appropriate measures are taken before patients are transported to hospitals for advanced medical care. Specifically, best practice for EHS evaluation and treatment includes early recognition of athletes with potential EHS, a rectal temperature measurement to confirm EHS, and cold-water immersion before transport to a hospital. With planning, communication, and persistence, clinicians can adopt these best-practice recommendations to aid in the recognition and treatment of patients with EHS in the secondary school setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of athletic training
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr


  • Best practice
  • Cold-water immersion
  • High school
  • Hyperthermia
  • Rectal temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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