“The recent deaths of college and professional athletes have captured everyone’s attention,” explained State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart. “To prevent these type of tragedies, the State Board, the Department and the SSAC developed guidelines and training modules in the 1980s for use in student sports. We have taken a proactive approach to this problem and are probably ahead of other states in this effort.”
According to Dr. Stewart, all school sports personnel are trained annually during clinics presented by the SSAC. At these clinics, coaches and other personnel are trained on how to prevent heat-related illness, how to identify symptoms of illness and emergency procedures to follow.
“We have taken steps to prevent heat-related illness in scholastic sports, but it is still imperative that students, coaches and even parents keep a watchful eye for symptoms,” said John Ray, coordinator of health and physical education for the West Virginia Department of Education. “Heat-related illness can occur to all students -– not just student athletes – so school nurses also receive training.”