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Health sciences professors advance guidelines for preventing injury, death

Furman football players run onto the field during a game.

Furman University Health Sciences professors Tony Caterisano, Matt Feigenbaum and Ben Snyder contributed to a set of national guidelines aimed at preventing injuries and deaths related to college sports training.

Their paper, written with other researchers, was the result of two years of research commissioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and underwritten by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). It represents the first ever collaboration of the two organizations since they were formed.

The landmark consensus guidelines paper, “CSCCa and NSCA Joint Consensus Guidelines for Transition Periods: Safe Return to Training Following Inactivity,” was published in the June issue of Strength and Conditioning Journal.

The study focuses on protecting athletes returning to training during “transition periods,” or the first two-to-four weeks of mandatory training following inactivity.

The authors cite recent statistics that show a marked increase in the incidence of injuries and deaths related to exertional heat illness (EHI), which can lead to heat stroke; exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER) resulting from muscle strain or trauma; and cardiorespiratory failure during the first weeks of transition.

To address the problem, the CSCCa and NSCA created the consensus guidelines, which among other recommendations, outline upper limits on the volume, intensity, and work-to-rest ratio during transition periods where athletes are most vulnerable. The guidelines provide strength and conditioning coaches with a clear framework for safe and effective program design in the first weeks of training after periods of inactivity or return from EHI or ER episodes.

The authors of the study conclude that adhering to the consensus guidelines, conducting preparticipation medical evaluations, and establishing emergency action plans will reduce the incidence of injuries and deaths in college athletes.

For more information, contact Furman Professor of Health Sciences Tony Caterisano at 864-294-3421, and tony.caterisano@furman.edu. Or contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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