Heat Illness Consensus Sought by Medical Groups Inter-Association Task Force to Collaborate on Unified Statement
DALLAS (Jan. 22, 2003) - Leaders from approximately 20 organizations in the sports, health and medical arenas have agreed to form an Inter-Association Task Force on Exertional Heat Illness to address and review a subject that has generated widespread media exposure and affliction to increasing numbers of people in recent years. Leading the group is the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). The initial meeting to collaborate on an interdisciplinary consensus statement will be held in Atlanta, Feb. 1-3. It will include leading representatives from the NATA, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American College of Sports Medicine, National SAFE KIDS Campaign and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Our number one goal for the task force is to create consistent information as it relates to heat illness prevention among all health-related organizations. Many of these groups already have guidelines in place, but we need to ensure that all of the steps associated with exertional heat illness recognition, management, treatment and prevention are the same," said Julie Max, ATC, NATA president and head athletic trainer at California State University, Fullerton. "In final form, our ultimate objective is to produce a document that will be widely available and outline specific, uniform guidelines for identifying and treating heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which are all part of exertional heat illness." Significant research by the NATA for its Heat Illness Position Statement, released Fall 2002, indicated that subtle signs and symptoms associated with exertional heat illness are often overlooked, resulting in more serious and lasting problems for athletes across all ages and those physically active in daily recreation. The NATA research provides widely accepted strategies for preventing and treating exertional heat illness to assist certified athletic trainers and other allied health providers to maximize health, safety and sport performance. Complications to heat illness can cause life-long health problems and even death. About NATA: Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports the more than 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. www.nata.org.