CDC: Heat illness prevalent among high school athletes

August 26, 2010

High school athletes lose more than 9,000 days of athletic activity a year as a result of heat-related illness, according to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heat-related illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke -- a potentially fatal condition that can lead to permanent neurological or cardiac complications.

Football was the sport with the greatest risk of heat-related illness, with most illnesses occurring in August. The report also found that heat illnesses most often strike athletes during practices, rather than games, and overweight athletes are more susceptible.

According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 31 football players have died from heat stroke since 1995.

The report was based on 2005-2009 data from the National High School Sports Related Injury Surveillance Study.