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Athlete safety becomes a priority at activities association's latest meeting

Hutchinson Herald of Menno, South Dakota

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Policies dealing with student-athlete safety will be studied during the next year for possible implementation, the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors was told by staff April 21.

The study will be led by SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand who attended a meeting about athlete safety. "I came back scared," Krogstrand said of the meeting the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the National American Society for Sports Management that dealt with high school athletic injuries.

Key areas covered at the meeting included emergency action plans, sudden cardiac arrest, contact and concussions and heat exposure. "These are real things that happen," Krogstrand said of the incidence of heart attacks in young athletes.

He said many schools have automated external defibrillators but the speakers at the meeting pointed out that the machines may not be charged or properly maintained.

Krogstrand said he learned that heat exposure isn't necessarily just an occurrence in Southern states. "It can take place anytime, anywhere," Krogstrand said.

The states that had rules in place to guard against these injuries had one grim similarity. "It seemed like every state, before they'd address these issues, kids would die," Krogstrand said.

During the next year, SDHSAA staff and sports medicine experts will work on policy recommendations to bring to the board. "We really need to do a better job of this within the next 12 months," Krogstrand said.

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Original Publication Date: June 4, 2015

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