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August 2, 2018

Steward Health Care Aims to Protect High School Athletes From Heat Illness

As temperatures climb and summer practices draw near, the Sports Medicine Center of Utah (a Salt Lake Regional Medical Center practice) is making efforts to guard high school athletes from the dangers of heat illness.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Heat illness during practice or competition is a leading cause of death and disability among U.S. high school athletes.”


Recognizing the Symptoms of Heat Illness

Heat illness can range in severity from heat cramps and heat exhaustion to heat stroke. Minor heat illnesses may produce symptoms such as dizziness, cramps or lightheadedness. These symptoms may progress to include headache, nausea and/or vomiting, excessive sweating and/or flushing, fatigue or chills.


Heat stroke, which can be fatal, may produce the following symptoms:

  • Core body temperature above 105 ºF
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Rapid breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nervous system dysfunction (e.g. confusion, aggression, loss of consciousness)


How Can Athletes Protect Themselves?

“Hydration is key,” says Athletic Trainer Andrew Spadafora, ATC, MEd. “Athletes need to drink plenty of fluids and replace electrolytes with sports beverages like Powerade and Gatorade. Adding a little extra salt in their foods can also be helpful.”


This summer and fall, Spadafora will serve as the Athletic Trainer for several teams at Juan Diego Catholic High School (Draper, UT), including football, girl’s soccer, girl’s tennis, volleyball, and cross-country. “We’re getting prepared now,” he says, “to minimize risk of heat illness among our athletes.”


Comprehensive Care for the Pros & Area High Schools

The Sports Medicine professionals at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center are proud to be the sports medicine providers for several area high schools, as well as college and professional teams. Physicians, physical therapists, and trainers at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center work with the U.S. Ski Team, Ballet West, Westminster Griffins, Utah Falconz, and Real Salt Lake (Utah’s only Major League Soccer team).


Heat Illness Resources for Players, Coaches & Parents

As August quickly approaches, providers at Sports Medicine Center of Utah urge players, coaches, and parents to educate themselves about the dangers of heat illness. National Athletic Trainers’ Association has made a number of heat illness resources available for free here.



Tammy Clark, Director of Business Development

Salt Lake Regional Medical Center

(801) 350-4214




About Steward Health Care System

Steward Health Care, the largest private, for-profit hospital operator in the United States, is a physician-led health care services organization committed to providing the highest quality of care in the communities where patients live. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Steward operates 38 community hospitals in the United States and the country of Malta, that regularly receive top awards for quality and safety. The company employs approximately 40,000 health care professionals. The Steward network includes more than 25 urgent care centers, 42 preferred skilled nursing facilities, substantial behavioral health services, over 7,300 beds under management, and approximately 1.5 million full risk covered lives through the company's managed care and health insurance services. The total number of paneled lives within Steward's integrated care network is projected to reach 3 million in 2018.


Steward's unique health care service delivery model leverages technology, innovation, and care coordination to keep patients healthier. With a culture that prioritizes agility, resourcefulness, and continuous improvement, Steward is recognized as one of the world’s leading accountable care organizations. The Steward Health Care Network includes thousands of physicians who help to provide more than 12 million patient encounters per year. Steward Medical Group, the company's employed physician group, provides more than 4 million patient encounters per year. The Steward Hospital Group operates hospitals in Malta and states across the U.S. including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.