Health experts and sports professionals in the United States have joined hands to release new guidelines that aim to educate coaches and athletic trainers about the best training practices that are effective and safe for the athletes.
Experts hope that the guidelines will prevent deaths among amateur athletes, especially during the conditioning sessions before a season starts. Conditioning sessions involve a number of training activities to improve the fitness of an athlete ahead of a tournament or a season and often involve vigorous exercises including running sprints, endurance workouts and lifting weights.
Sports professionals agree that there is very little regulation in these sessions with coaches pushing the athletes too hard to complete a task, sometimes resulting in health problems including deaths due to heart attacks and strokes. Figures reveal that there have been over 21 deaths among college football professionals during such conditioning sessions since 2000.
The guidelines, to be published in the Journal of Athletic Training, have been framed by a task force which includes a number of sports and medical institutes in the country. "Strength and conditioning sessions have become fundamental to success in collegiate sports. However, the athletes' development, health and safety are sometimes overshadowed by a culture that values making athletes tough, instilling discipline and focusing on success at all costs. This ill-conceived philosophy has been a contributor to the alarming increase in collegiate athlete deaths and serious injuries during conditioning sessions", the chairman of the task force, Douglas Casa said.