An analysis of regional acclimatization of Georgia high school football players and the impact of a revised heat safety policy.
Poore, Shaina Eileen
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This thesis used data collected from a six year study of Georgia High School football players to assess if there are regional differences in exertional heat illness (EHI) rates between the Northern and Southern halves of the state and how a new heat safety policy impacted EHIs regionally. The results of this study shows geographical differences in injury rates (IR) for different WBGT categories. Northern football players experienced greater IRs, ranging from 0.32-3.07 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures, compared with those in the South with IRs of 0.03-0.88 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures. Also, the new policy greatly reduced injury rates from 50-70%, depending on the WBGT category in the South but made no statistically significant change in IRs in the North. The results suggest that regional heat safety guidelines may be needed in Georgia and other states with similarly diverse climates.