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Environmental Considerations for the Athlete

presented by Katie Whetstone, PT, DPT, SCS

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Katie Whetstone receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Nonfinancial: Katie Whetstone has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Video Runtime: 119 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 47 Minutes

Athletes compete in all types of environments, and the weather at sporting events can be quite unpredictable. But no matter the weather, the sports physical therapist needs to be ready to both prevent and treat weather-related injuries. The sports physical therapist plays a vital role in the safety of not only the athletes, but also the coaches, officials, and spectators of various athletic events occurring in all types of climates and conditions. In this course on environmental considerations for the athlete, Katie Whetstone (sports physical therapist) and Todd Arnold (sports medicine physician) will address the prevention and treatment of common weather-related injuries, such as heat illness, hypothermia, dehydration, and altitude sickness, and give tips for lightning safety during outdoor events. Katie and Todd will share their real-life experiences while answering your frequently asked questions regarding environmental safety.

Meet Your Instructor

Katie Whetstone, PT, DPT, SCS

Dr. Katie Whetstone is a board-certified clinical specialist in the area of sports physical therapy and a full-time faculty member at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana. Katie has a Bachelor of Science degree in the area of exercise science as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. She also completed formal sports…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Introduction to Heat Conditions

This chapter will provide an introduction to heat-related injuries and the importance of quick and effective decision-making in the presence of harsh environmental conditions. In hot conditions, the body can often lose control of its thermoregulation, resulting in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or death. This chapter discusses the importance of maintaining equilibrium in hot and/or humid conditions. We will also provide a basic review of the body’s mechanisms, such as sweating and shivering, that maintain normal body temperature in both hot and cold conditions.

2. Introduction to Cold Conditions

The most common cold-related conditions athletes experience are hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is described as a general cooling of the body, while frostbite is the freezing of body tissues. This chapter will describe the different stages of each of the injuries, as well as treatment and prevention options.

3. Lightning Safety

Outdoor sporting events pose a unique risk to the athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators due to the chance of lightning-related injury. This chapter will discuss the protocol for treating lightning injuries, including a safety assessment of the area, evaluation and treatment options, and prevention guidelines, including the flash-to-bang ratio.

4. Hydration

Dehydration can affect the physical and mental performance of athletes and often is not recognized until after the athlete is dehydrated. This chapter will discuss signs, symptoms, and treatment strategies for dehydration, as well as tactics to get the athlete to remain hydrated throughout training and competition without becoming overhydrated.

5. Travel-Related Illnesses

Regardless of location, the illness and fatigue that often comes with travel can become very limiting to athletes at all ages and competition levels. For athletes who travel to areas of high elevation for sport and competition, altitude-related illnesses are likely and can lead to very serious conditions. This chapter discusses the signs, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of travel-related conditions such as altitude sickness and jet lag.

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