Up & Coming Weekly

October 02, 2018

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 56 of 64

56 UCW OCTOBER 3-9, 2018 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS When the University of Maryland turned to an outside consultant to investigate the circumstances involved in the death of football player Jordan McNair, it was no surprise the person they chose to lead the probe was former Terry Sanford High School student athletic trainer Rod Walters. Walters, a 1975 graduate of Terry Sanford, learned about athletic training under well-known Bulldog coaches like Len Maness, Mackie Hall, Fred McDaniel and Wayne Byrd. He went on to a brilliant Hall of Fame career as an athletic trainer at his alma mater, Appalachian State, as well as Lenoir-Rhyne and the University of South Carolina. He finally stepped down in 2007 to create his own consulting business that focuses on providing education and resources to fellow athletic trainers. "Education is probably the biggest part of what I do,'' said Walters. "I review programs. I've been doing one or two of these a year.'' That was what Maryland asked him to do when they reached out to him in early June following the tragic death in May of McNair during an offseason workout session. Walters' 74-page report, which was issued in mid- September, concluded that cold-water immersion tanks used to rapidly reduce the core temperature of a player suffering from heat-related illness were not available at Maryland's practice that day because the practice location had been changed at the last minute and the tanks were elsewhere. While Maryland had some good emergency poli- cies in place, Walters said they needed to be followed completely. "Deviation from that causes problems,'' he said. He added that the Maryland athletic trainers on the scene didn't take vital signs and didn't identify escalating symptoms of heat stroke. Walters said the main lesson the death of McNair taught for both Maryland and any athletic program is emergency action plans must be specific when stating what's going to happen and how the athletic trainers and coaches are going to deal with it. Things like "How do we identify signs and symp- toms?'' Walters said. "How do we implement care? Are all the parties involved, coaches and athletic trainers, appropriately prepared to deal with that? Do we have appropriate monitoring of the weather, whether it be lightning or heat? Do we have the pro- cesses in place?'' In the case of heat-related illness, Walters said the problem is complicated because there are so many pieces. They include accurately and rapidly identify- ing the nature of the heat illness followed by rapid treatment and aggressive cooling of the athlete to bring the temperature down. "There's a study we quoted in the report, in the event of an exertional heat stroke, that if we iden- tify it within 30 minutes, the chance of mortality or major problems are reduced,'' Walters said. "That's why the rapid assessment is so important.'' Walters said the biggest danger for any athletic program or team is lack of preparation in dealing with emergencies. "You've got to have a plan,'' Walters said. But even that is not enough. Not only do you have to have a plan, you must practice it, and not just once at the start of a sports season. "We find that lots of schools, 90 percent of them, have an emergency plan and may practice it in July,'' he said. "You've got to stay on top of that, revisit best practices to make sure we're doing all the things we can do effectively to treat these people.'' Walters said heat isn't the only concern. There are numerous other dangers to be aware of, including cardiac issues, concussions and athletes with sickle cell trait. "All these other things we have to apply to make sure we have an effective plan,'' he said. Walters admits it sounds self-serving, but he said it's a good idea for all schools to have someone like himself come in and conduct an independent review of how they're doing things. "They've got to review the emergency action plan and make sure it's thorough,'' he said. "Have somebody review that your best practices are best practices. "A lot of places aren't doing that.'' For more information about Walters and his con- sulting work, go to www.rodwalters.com. In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and dev- astating flooding across the state, Commissioner Que Tucker and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors has request- ed NCHSAA member schools designate a contest or contests during the period from Oct. 1-19 as a Hurricane Florence Relief Assistance Contest. Member schools are asked to participate by col- lecting money at any home contest during that window and then forwarding those monies to the Association, which will act as a clearinghouse. All money will be divided and sent to local education agencies in the counties that have been designated as disaster areas and were federally approved for individual assistance. The NCHSAA Board of Directors has approved matching funds up to $25,000 to add to the money collected during the drive by member schools for Hurricane Florence Relief Games. Funds distrib- uted to affected LEAs would be available to help member schools as determined by local school administrators. "Many NCHSAA member schools in Eastern North Carolina received a devastating blow from Hurricane Florence, and we want to do our part to help during this time of need," said Tucker. "After Hurricane Floyd and most recently Hurricane Matthew, we called upon member schools to help those in the hardest hit areas. Once again, we are asking each member school and its community to join together in helping those most impacted by this disaster.'' In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, NCHSAA mem- ber schools – helped by a matching contribution authorized by the Association Board members – were able to donate over $44,000 to LEAs in the most affected areas. In the case of Hurricane Floyd, the NCHSAA collected donations at statewide regional meetings and also provided a matching donation. "Great things are possible when we all work together," Tucker said. "Even in the wake of tremen- dous devastation, our member schools are a focal point of the effort to rebuild and return their com- munities to normalcy. Whether they were serving as emergency shelters or providing a rallying point for community donations, NCHSAA members always do whatever is necessary to support those in need. We are proud of them for their sense of community and are eager to see what we can do together this time around.'' Once a school has decided when and how to participate, they are asked to contact NCHSAA Assistant Commissioner James Alverson with the details of their plans at james@nchsaa.org. EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWSports@ gmail.com. 910-364-6638. Terry Sanford grad Walters shares lessons learned from University of Maryland probe by EARL VAUGHAN JR. NCHSAA asks member schools to help raise money for storm aid courtesy the NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION Rod Walters

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