Ohio Deer Season: Gun Safety

By William J. Price

Deer hunting has always been about tradition. As a kid, I tagged along to learn the nuances of what to do and what not to do when killing an animal. As an adult, I imparted the family wisdom to my kin and relished the time alone with my children who enjoyed one of my few hobbies. As gun season is now upon us, the one practice I still continue to review each time we set foot on our property is gun safety. This tradition will never die.

When deer hunting, always determine your target and know where your shot will stop.
Photo by jaymantri.com, licensed under CC BY 1.0

 

Aside from the typical safety routines I review each time a gun is in their hands, I chose this year to focus in on the following rule: “Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.” [1]  Whether you are in the blind, in a tree stand or simply walking through the woods, knowing what is potentially beyond the target is the hardest part of hunting. To stress the importance of this simple rule, I took the kids on an excursion days before the season opened.

From the tree stand, we mapped out the woods and all of the hazards. We measured off the feed piles, areas of thick brush and tree cover and the open fields, which fed directly into the woods. I stressed these were the areas where other hunters may exist. We identified the dangers, such as protruding rocks and large tree trunks, where ricochets may occur, ravines containing blind spots and lastly looked for other tree stands or areas where hunters may “accidentally” trespass on our land. The whole purpose of this very simple exercise was to identify those hazards which may suddenly appear after a shot is taken.

While I may be disappointed when my son or daughter misses a shot, I do not want to regret the shot was due to a lack of preparation on my part.

Ohio Deer Hunting Season

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has announced Ohio’s 2015 deer-gun season will continue Dec. 28-29.

During the Dec. 28-29 firearm season, all hunters except waterfowl hunters must wear a vest, coat, jacket or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange. Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes past sunset for all deer seasons.

Shotguns and straight-walled cartridge rifles in approved calibers cannot have more than three shells.

For more information on deer hunting rules, including approved guns, visit wildohio.gov. Download a copy of the 2015-2016 Ohio Hunting Regulations or pick up a copy where licenses are sold.

 

Bill Price is a seasoned trial attorney who focuses his practice on personal injury litigation for people who have been seriously injured or killed. He has the distinction of being named to the 2016 Top 100 Ohio and Top 50 Cleveland Super Lawyers lists.


 

Sources:

[1] National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Firearms Safety | 10 Rules of Safe Gun Handling.” NSSF, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2015. http://www.nssf.org/safety/basics/

School Bus Driver Liability for Injuries

Earlier this year, the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments about liability for injuries to children involving school buses. The issue in the case was whether school bus drivers are liable for injuries and fatalities when students do not go straight home after leaving the bus.  Although the court dismissed the case, the general issues are worthy of consideration.

_MG_7919-2The case in question involves a first-grader who left her school bus and ran down the street toward a friend’s house and was struck and seriously injured by a car – after the bus had continued on its route.  The incident occurred in the Village of Cleves, near Cincinnati. Ohio law says that drivers must wait until the student reaches a safe place before moving on. At issue is how long a driver must wait and what is meant by a “safe” place. Although many, including some justices on the lower court, agreed that the law was poorly written, it is the only law available for now.

The Ohio Supreme Court decided that it had “improvidently” accepted this case and dismissed it, sustaining the ruling of the Hamilton County Court of Appeals that the school district was not liable.  Nevertheless, the larger issues about school busses and liability are not new nor are they limited to Ohio.

Do you think school bus drivers should be liable for students after they leave the bus? Share your school bus safety concerns in the comment section below.

School districts across the United States are generally immune from liability in such matters, unless it can be demonstrated that the driver was negligent. Is the driver required to actually supervise a child once he or she is no longer on the bus? Is not providing such supervision a form of negligence?  Is the driver required to escort the child to a safe place, leaving the other children unsupervised on the bus?

Supervision of Students

And what is meant by supervision? In North Carolina, for example, the state Board of Education is considering a requirement that drivers signal students when it is safe to cross the street. What if the driver signals, the students start to cross, and a car speeds around a corner and strikes a student? Is the bus driver liable?

Criminal Negligence vs. Civil Negligence

Like Ohio, the state of Washington requires that school bus drivers be found negligent before they can be held liable for student injuries or deaths. They can be criminally negligent, which means they have broken a law, such as failing to stop at a traffic signal or speeding. A driver could also be proven negligent in a civil case, which requires a lower standard of proof than criminal negligence. This could mean that the driver should have responded to a situation in a way a reasonable person would have and is a tough standard to apply. For example, if a driver suspected that the brakes on the bus were bad, should he or she have kept on driving?

Are Drivers Supposed to Intervene When a Child Is Being Bullied?

What about a child who is bullied on a school bus? Parents in Missouri sued their school district because it allegedly failed to stop their son from being bullied on the school bus, resulting in the boy’s suicide. The parents received a $300,000 settlement from the school district.

Bus Fights

In St. Johns County, Florida, bus drivers are expected to break up fights – IF doing so does not compromise their safety. In other Florida counties, however, drivers are not permitted to touch students in any way, making it difficult to intervene in many situations.

Driver Texting

A Nashville case was pretty straightforward; a driver was found to have been sending and receiving texts while transporting students. The driver has since died, so families cannot file lawsuits against the driver. However, the school district could still be held liable.

Liability for Administering Medication

How far will we go to ensure the safety of students on school buses? Some districts issue EpiPens to drivers so they can administer medication to students experiencing allergic reactions. However, many drivers are afraid they will be found liable if a student dies as a result of an allergic reaction, despite being given the injection. A lawmaker in Pennsylvania introduced a bill that would give drivers immunity from civil lawsuits involving the use of EpiPens.

Other Questions About School Bus Driver Liability

What if drivers are not school district employees? What if the buses are not school district equipment? Who is liable if school transportation is provided by a contractor rather than a school employee? The questions seem endless. This makes it very important for drivers to know the rules of their districts and states regarding operation of buses and their liability for injuries and deaths.

Ohio Backyard Pool Liability

black-and-white-pool-1

Nothing beats cooling off in a pool on a hot summer day, but be aware that owning a pool comes with important responsibilities. In Ohio, homeowners may be liable for injuries that occur on their property, including incidents in or around swimming pools. What’s more, under the “attractive nuisance doctrine,” pool owners may be held liable for injuries to a child who is hurt while trespassing on their property.

To help mitigate your liability, it is important to take steps to protect your guests and the general public from injuries. Please keep in mind the following safety tips are general guidelines. Pool owners should make themselves aware of all applicable city, county, and state requirements.

Safety Measures for Backyard Pools

Fencing

  • Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the house from the pool area. Do not consider the house as a fourth side of a fence if children can access the pool from a door or opening.
  • The fence should be at least four feet high and separate the pool from the house and play areas of the yard.
  • Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward. Ensure that the latches are out of the child’s reach.
  • Consider additional barriers such as automatic door locks or alarms to prevent or notify you of entry into the pool area.
  • Always remove portable pool ladders when not in use.

Safety Equipment

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that you have the following items near your pool to ensure that if the worst happens, you are ready to respond.

  • First aid kit
  • Scissors to cut hair, clothing or a pool cover, if needed
  • Charged portable telephone or cell phone to call 911
  • Flotation devices
  • Reach pole

Insurance

While your homeowner’s insurance may be sufficient to cover some pool-related injuries, you may want to consider adding additional coverage. Talk to your insurance provider about adding an umbrella policy, which provides liability coverage over and above your automobile or homeowner’s policy. For about $150 to $350 per year, you can buy a $1 million personal umbrella liability policy. An umbrella policy will help protect your assets from an unfavorable lawsuit arising from personal injury or property damage caused by you, members of your family, or hazards on your property for which you are legally liable. Exclusions may apply, always talk to an experienced insurance agent and read your policy carefully to insure you have appropriate coverage.

 

FDA Considers New Liquid Nicotine Regulations

Liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes has been responsible for thousands of poisonings, prompting the federal government to impose regulations.

FDA issues liquid nicotine warningsElectronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. They turn chemicals, including nicotine, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user—which is commonly referred to as “vaping.” E-cigarettes are a multi-billion-dollar industry that, for years, has flourished outside of federal regulations. Now, amid the recent surge in liquid nicotine poisonings of children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed rules that would require manufacturers to add warning labels and child-resistant packaging.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 3,783 incidents of liquid nicotine poisonings in 2014, up dramatically from 1,543 in 2013. The Washington Post reports that many of the liquid nicotine poisonings “involve children younger than 6, who can suffer serious health consequences from ingesting the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.” In December of 2014, a toddler died in New York after swallowing the substance.

Proposed Liquid Nicotine Regulations

The FDA issued a notice, announcing that the agency is seeking public comments on proposed rules for liquid nicotine:

FDA’s assessment of these recent trends has led the agency to seek additional information on whether, based on the acute toxicity of nicotine (up to and including nicotine poisoning), it would be appropriate for the protection of the public health to:

  • Warn the public about the dangers of nicotine exposure (especially due to inadvertent nicotine exposure in infants and children); and/or
  • Require some tobacco products to be sold in child-resistant packaging.

The public may submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov until August 31, 2015. (Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1514.)

More Teens ‘Vaping’

According to the CDC, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014.

“We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it’s an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use.”

Many health advocates are opposed to marketing tactics used by e-cigarette manufacturers, including the use of candy and fruit flavors, which they claim target younger smokers. Current regulations forbid cigarette manufacturers from selling similarly flavored cigarettes. Concerns about online sales have also been raised, due to the difficulty of verifying a customer’s age over the Internet.

Safe handling for liquid nicotine

If you choose to use e-cigarettes, we encourage you to do so safely. The American Association of Poison Control Centers offers the following guidelines:

Adults should use care to protect their skin when handling the products, and they should be out of sight and out of the reach of children. Additionally, those using these products should dispose of them properly to prevent exposure to pets and children from the residue or liquid left in the container.

  • Protect your skin when handling the products.
  • Always keep e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children.
  • Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.

Poisoning from the liquid nicotine can happen in one of three ways: by swallowing it; inhaling it; or absorbing it through the skin or membranes in the mouth and lips or eyes. Once it is in a person’s system, nicotine can cause nausea, vomiting or seizures. If you think someone has been harmed by liquid nicotine, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

Poison_Help_Logo

 

Sources:

Dennis, Brady. “FDA weighs warning labels, child-resistant packaging after surge in liquid nicotine poisoningsWashington Post, June 30, 2015.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “E-cigarette use triples among middle and high school students in just one year” www.cdc.gov, April 16, 2015.

Fireworks: Family Fun or Safety Hazard?

Fireworks are erupting in Ohio—political fireworks, that is. In recent years, state legislators have been hearing from advocates on both sides of the fireworks debate. Some feel that fireworks are too dangerous, and cite their life-altering impact on consumers, including severe eye injuries, loss of limbs, and even death. Manufacturers, on the other hand, are lobbying to legalize more consumer fireworks in Ohio.

firework-new-year-s-eve-rocket cropped

Last year, Danial Peart of Phantom Fireworks in Youngstown, Ohio told lawmakers that legalizing bottle rockets and other consumer-grade fireworks would lead to greater fireworks safety education. “History has shown that with a focused education campaign, legalizing consumer fireworks use actually decreases injuries to the consumer,” he said.

Dr. Gary Smith, director of the center for injury research and policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, sees things in a very different light. “There is no safe way to use backyard fireworks,” Smith said. “Every type of legally available consumer firework has been associated with serious injury or even death.”

Most Dangerous Fireworks

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11,400 injuries due to fireworks were treated in U.S. emergency departments in 2013. Of those, more than half occurred in the 30 days surrounding Independence Day. Small fireworks, like bottle rockets, sparklers, and small firecrackers can appear harmless to kids. However, children younger than 15 years of age accounted for nearly half of all fireworks-related injuries.

Sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. That’s as hot as a blowtorch! In 2013, there were an estimated 2,300 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers

Small firecrackers are especially dangerous to kids, who may try to light the explosives in their hand or relight “duds.” Hand and finger injuries account for 32 percent of all injuries.

Roman candles can cause serious eye injuries, including corneal abrasions.

Bottle rockets may seem like innocent fun, but they can also inflict eye damage and account for 70 percent of injuries to bystanders.

Fireworks Safety Tips

If you do decide to buy legal fireworks, be sure to take the following safety steps:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging; often, this can be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Move away to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not gone off or fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one item at a time, and then move away quickly.
  • After fireworks have gone off and fully functioned, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding, to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Ohio Consumer Fireworks Laws

Although you may buy consumer (1.4G) fireworks from a licensed wholesaler or manufacturer, you cannot discharge any consumer fireworks (firecrackers, bottle rockets, etc.) in the State of Ohio. [ORC § 3743.65(B)] You must transport all fireworks purchased in Ohio out of the state within 48 hours of the purchase. The only items that can be used in Ohio are designated “trick and novelty” which smoke, pop, and/or sparkle. [ORC § 3743.80]

 

Sources:

Bill legalizing fireworks in Ohio clears Senate panel” by Jackie Borchardt, Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 9, 2014.

2013 Fireworks Annual Report: Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2013” by Yongling Tu and Demar V. Granados, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington DC, June 2014.

Kids and Guns: A Deadly Combination

Gun control is always a hot-button issue in this country. However, stories in the media about shootings that involve children – from Sandy Hook to the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland – are guaranteed to spur lively debate, sometimes resulting in calls for new legislation.

A young child takes aim with a rifle.
Photo Credit: Suchart Sriwichai /Freerangestock.com

Recently, a heartbreaking headline appeared on CNN.com, which read, “Accidental shootings plague Houston area as children play with guns.” The media outlet reported that three child shootings had occurred during a span of just four days. The first victim, a 3-year-old boy, died after he found a gun in a residence and accidentally shot himself. Two days later, another child, age 4, also died due to injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound—he reportedly found the gun under a bed. In the third shooting, a 5-year-old boy was critically injured when his 6-year-old brother accidentally shot him.

Sadly, each of these tragedies could have been prevented. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws have been shown to be effective at reducing unintentional firearm deaths among children. Indeed, one study found that in twelve states where such laws had been in effect for at least one year, unintentional firearm deaths fell by 23%.[1]

Protecting Ohio’s Children

Currently, Ohio has no law specifically penalizing allowing children access to firearms. However, legislation has been languishing in Columbus for more than two years that would establish the crime of criminally negligent storage of a firearm.

The proposed bill (HB 75), reintroduced in 2015 by Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland), prohibits a person from storing or leaving a firearm in a manner or location in the person’s residence if the person knows or reasonably should know that a minor is able to gain access to the firearm.

“This bill does not impede the Second Amendment,” said Patmon in an interview with the Toledo Blade in 2013. “We have car seats to protect children. Doesn’t it make sense to protect them from a .45 lying on the table?”

 

Sources:

Accidental shootings plague Houston area as children play with guns” by Dana Ford, CNN, March 3, 2015.

“Uncommon sense: Gun safe-storage laws have saved lives around the country, but Ohio remains behind the times” (Editorial) The Blade, March 19, 2014.

 

 

[1] Peter Cummings et al., State Gun Safe Storage Laws and Child Mortality Due to Firearms, 278 JAMA 1084, 1084 (Oct. 1997).

 

Winter Home Fire Prevention

Heating fires are one of the leading causes of home fires.As frigid temperatures sweep across the country, injuries and deaths are on the rise from a surprising source—fire. In fact, 50 percent of all home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

The number of home fires increases during cold snaps because people will use whatever sources they have available to get and stay warm. Unfortunately, some heat sources may not be used properly, are not intended for home heating, or may be in need of repair.

Second only to cooking fires, heating fires are one of the leading causes of home fires. Follow these tips to keep your family safe this winter:

  • Remember the 3-Feet Rule. Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Use space heaters carefully. If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Never use an extension cord for electric heaters.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home. This can be a fire hazard as well as a source of toxic fumes.
  • Keep the fire in your fireplace. Use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years. Smoke alarms wear out. If you can’t remember when you last replaced them, buy new alarms that are interconnected if possible. Install them using manufacturer’s instructions or hire an electrician for alarms that are hard-wired into your home’s electrical system.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm. Make sure it is marked with the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) safety listing. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for placement in your home.
  • Have working fire extinguisher. The National Fire Protection Association recommends an extinguisher for each floor. Select a multi-purpose extinguisher that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.

Remember, many communities offer free smoke detectors and installation for vulnerable portions of the population. For more information, contact your local Red Cross chapter or neighborhood fire department.

In Ohio, Sled at Your Own Risk

Some cities are closing sledding hills for fear of litigation.

Across the country, frustrated kids are having a hard time finding a place to sled because many cities are closing sledding hills for fear of litigation. In Ohio, however, public sledding areas remain open – because of laws that protect property owners who host “recreational users.”

While this news will undoubtedly delight kids of all ages, parents should be cautious. Before you send your child careening down a snowy hill on a sled, saucer, or tube, know that it may be your responsibility, not that of the property owner, to check for rocks, trees, or other hazards.

Premises Liability

At Elk & Elk, we handle all types of premises liability claims. Wet floors, loose handrails, poorly lit stairways… a myriad of problems can lead to serious injury or death. In many cases, if there is a hazard or defect on someone’s property, the owner can be held liable for injuries arising from that defect if they knew, or reasonably should have known, about the danger it posed.

Obviously, there are exceptions. Once such exception specifically involves those who sled in public places.

Pauley v. Circleville

In 2007, Jeremy Pauley decided to sled down a snow-covered mound of dirt at Barthelmas Park in Circleville, Ohio. Unfortunately, lurking beneath the snow – just yards ahead of him – was a railroad tie. Sadly, as Jeremy sledded down the hill, he violently struck the obstacle, and, as a result, he was paralyzed from the neck down. Subsequently, Jeremy and his mother filed a complaint alleging that the city acted negligently, recklessly, and wantonly in dumping the debris in the park, which resulted in a physical defect that caused Jeremy’s injuries. In 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the City of Circleville was immune from liability in the disastrous sledding accident, because of the recreational-user immunity law.

The recreational-user law states: No landowner: 1) Owes any duty to a recreational user to keep the premises safe for entry or use; 2) Extends any assurance to a recreational user, through the act of giving permission, that the premises are safe for entry or use; 3) Assumes responsibility for or incurs liability for any injury caused by any act of a recreational user.

In the majority opinion, the justices concluded that finding Circleville liable for Jeremy’s injuries would conflict with the purpose of the recreational-user law, which is to encourage owners of premises suitable for recreational pursuits to open their land to public use without fear of liability. Removing the protection of immunity, they opined, would undoubtedly cause property owners to restrict recreational use of their properties, or close them entirely, from fear of liability. 

Sled-riders Beware

While we would never advocate for eliminating sled riding from our kids’ winter activities, in light of this legal decision, we strongly urge parents to be diligent when selecting a sledding site. According to ABC News,

A study by Columbus, Ohio-based Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that between 1997 and 2007, more than 20,000 children each year were treated at emergency rooms for sledding-related injuries.

It is important to note the recreational-user law is applicable only to free public areas. If there is an admission charge, the statute does not apply. With that in mind, tubing or sledding at places that charge admission, such as ski resorts, may provide some added assurances.

We wish you and your family safe and happy sledding this winter.

 

Sources:

Liability Concerns Prompt Some Cities to Limit Sledding” by Scott McFetridge, ABC News/Associated Press, January 4, 2015.

Pauley v. Circleville, 137 Ohio St.3d 212, 2013-Ohio-4541.

Tips for Choosing a Safe Halloween Costume

costumeHappy Halloween from your friends at Elk & Elk! Follow these simple tips when selecting a Halloween costume to help keep your little ghouls and goblins safe while trick-or-treating!

Is Your Halloween Costume Safe?

  • Select costumes made of fire-retardant fabric. Look for labels that indicate flame-resistance on all costumes, wigs, and hats. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric.
  • Consider make-up instead of masks. Face paint is a safer choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision or make it hard to breathe. Kids frequently have sensitive skin, so be sure any make-up is hypoallergenic non-toxic. If you do opt for a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough and encourage kids to remove masks before crossing the street.
  • Be seen. When possible, choose light-colored costumes for better visibility. For dark costumes, attach strips of reflective tape, glow sticks or have kids carry a bright goodie bag to make them easier for motorists to spot. Provide flashlights with fresh batteries to light their way.
  • Avoid oversized costumes and shoes. Choose comfortable shoes and make sure clothes don’t drag on the ground.
  • Choose accessories carefully. Fasten all wigs, hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over your child’s eyes. If your little one will be carrying a weapon, make sure it doesn’t look too realistic. Opt for swords, knives, and other accessories that are smooth and flexible without sharp ends or points.

Teach Your Child to Trick-or-Treat Safely

Safe costumes are a great start, but always remember to review pedestrian rules with kids before they head out:

  • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child
  • WALK – don’t run – when going from house to house
  • Use the sidewalk if available, rather than walk in the street
  • Don’t run out from between parked cars, or across lawns
  • Never enter a home or apartment unless accompanied by an adult

Is Your Teen at Risk for Heat Injuries?

Heat-related injuries are largely preventable.Summer is almost over and soon students will be heading back to school, but for thousands of kids, football training camp has already begun. While the media has been focused on concussions and traumatic brain injuries, heat injuries remain a major concern for youth football players and other student athletes.

August in Ohio often includes some of the highest temperatures and humidity levels of the year. It’s important to remember that intense physical activity can result in excessive sweating that depletes athletes’ bodies of salt and water.

Early symptoms of heat-related problems may include painful cramping of major muscle groups. However, if not treated promptly with body cooling and fluid replacement, overheating can quickly progress to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. All students should inform a coach and/or trainer if they are experiencing any symptoms of heat injury.

HEAT INJURY SYMPTOMS
Heat Cramps Painful cramps in the abdomen, arms or legs
Heat Syncope (Fainting) Sudden loss of consciousness due to overheating
Heat Exhaustion Heavy sweating; weakness; skin that feels cold or clammy; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting
Heat Stroke (hyperthermia) A life-threatening condition marked by nausea, seizures, disorientation, unconsciousness or coma

According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the most important safeguard to the health of the athlete is the replacement of water, which should be available to students in unlimited quantities. While proper hydration alone will not necessarily prevent heat illness, it will decrease risk. It is also important to replace salt lost through sweat; however, salt tablets are not recommended. Instead, encourage students to salt their food lightly after practice or games. Other precautions that can prevent heat injuries include taking frequent rests in the shade, practicing without helmets and/or pads, and modifying practice schedules on days with excessive heat and/or humidity.

We encourage families to watch “108°: Critical Response,” a powerful new documentary by the Arkansas Educational Television Network that addresses the dangers of heat illness. Featured in the film are three young victims of heat illness, only one of whom survived.