Current Research Projects
Thousands of high school, college, and professional athletes in the Tampa Bay area train outdoors in Florida's sweltering heat and high humidity. Training hard in Florida's high temperatures can be potentially fatal to athletes if the body overheats. Now, a study by doctors at USF Health seeks to arm coaches and athletic trainers with the information they need to prevent life-threatening heat exhaustion and illness. The study uses a small, silicone-coated electronic pill the size of a multivitamin to monitor the core body temperature of USF football players who volunteer as test subjects. The athletes swallow the pills before running on a treadmill and exercising in a medically supervised heat laboratory that replicates the climate players experience during a typical practice day on the football field.
To see preliminary results of our study which was presented in Indianapolis, Indiana in May 2008 at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting click here.
| A major cause of death in athletics is heat illness, " said Dr. Eric Coris, a member of USF Health's Sports Medicine & Athletic-Related Trauma Institute and the primary investigator of this study. " With this study, we are finding that we can monitor players' core temperature in a practical way to try to keep them out of trouble.
State of Florida Secondary School Medical Coverage Survey
Across the country, high school sports are being played with various forms of on-site medical coverage. The purpose of this survey being completed by secondary school athletic directors is to identify what trends of on-site coverage exist at high school football events in the State of Florida. All children participating in athletic events should have appropriate medical coverage based upon the risk and prevalence associated with the respective sport that one participates in. Dr. Jeff Konin, has spearheaded this study to help identify the current trends of coverage in Florida and will use the findings to make recommendations for appropriate medical coverage. Preliminary findings of this study have been submitted for publication.
Dr. Konin notes "Nationwide, high schools determine how they provide medical coverage for high risk sports using various methods. Unfortunately, few of these methods consist of logical appropriate medical coverage based upon the risk that student athletes are exposed to. Our goal with this study is to identify the trends used in Florida and help establish a safe standard that is reflective of sound medical practice.
The SMART Institute is currently analyzing injury patterns occurring in secondary school athletes in the Tampa Bay region. This project, spearheaded by Dr. Karen Liller, captures data collected from the SMART certified athletic trainers in the secondary school settings and is reviewed for trends, patterns, and other common findings in an effort to recognize the major causes of injuries. Compared to other research studies that have looked at injury patterns, the SMART Institute's custom-developed surveillance software program plans to analyze data that has never before been recorded. It is the goal of the SMART Institute to carefully review the data that crosses many sports, both male and female alike, and establish recommended guidelines for injury prevention.
To read a report submitted to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) that summarizes our findings for the 2007-2008 year, please click here .
One of the important things the injury registry will be will be to look at the athlete's exposure to the sports to determine true risk. With this information we can make a difference through the development of targeted intervention programs that will be evaluated for efficacy in reducing injuries and their outcomes. With the help of our certified athletic trainers, we are making our secondary school athletic programs safe and places where the students can grow and thrive!
-Dr. Karen Liller
View a poster presented at USF Health Research Day 2008
Automated External Defibrillators
During the last decade, automated external defibrillators, or "AED's", have gained in popularity due to their ease of application and value in saving a life under cardiac arrest circumstances. Many public places, such as airports, restaurants, and hotels, for example, now have AED's in readily identified locations in case of an emergency. In sports, certified athletic trainers are oftentimes the first responder to assess an emergency situation that requires the use of an AED. Training for such implementation usually occurs in a "sterile", controlled environment, where external elements are not present. As a result, the SMART Institute, in conjunction with Dr. Jonathan Drezner, is conducting a study to assess the knowledge of certified athletic trainers when using AED's in varying environments. This includes using an AED in the rain, in a puddle, on a metal bleacher, and other types of circumstances that are not traditional in nature. Our goal is to use these findings to identify best practice methods to educate certified athletic trainers.
Athletic trainers are often the first responder to a sudden cardiac arrest in the high school or collegiate athletic setting, and prompt defibrillation through use of an on-site AED can be life saving. This study investigates the knowledge, training, and past experience of certified athletic trainers for AED use in different circumstances and environmental settings. We hope the findings of this study will lead to improved AED training and sports safety initiatives.
-Dr. Jonathan Drezner
Body Mass Index
Body mass index (BMI) is a relatively simple method of assessing one's health related to how much they weight when compared to their height. As a formula, BMI does not differentiate between the amount of lean muscle mass one has versus the amount of adipose tissue. Since lean tissue weighs more than adipose tissue, individuals who are athletic in nature may carry a higher body weight, reflecting a higher BMI. High BMI numbers are more indicative of medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and others. While using BMI in a general population might be a good measure of one's general health status and risk for future onset of adverse disease, in the athletic population it has not been proven to be an accurate method for assessment. Our findings in numerous studies to date demonstrate that athletes typically record high BMI's despite being generally healthy. Here are a few of our studies presented within the past year at scientific meetings:
Body Mass Index for FIFA World Cup Professional Soccer Players. Cantor, E, Konin JG. Presented at University of South Florida Health Research Day held in Tampa, Florida (Feb 2008). view pdf
Body Mass Index in Men's Collegiate Athletics Compared Between University and Conference Teams. Konin JG, Koike K. Presented at University of South Florida Health Research Day held in Tampa, Florida (Feb 2008). view pdf
Trends in BMI for Olympic Ice Hockey Players. Konin JG, Griffiths A. Presented at the XVII International Congress on Sports Rehabilitation and Traumatology held in Bologna, Italy (April 2008). view pdf
The Relationship between Body Mass Index, Body Weight Perception, and Menstrual Cycle in female Athletes. Konin JG, Burtman K, Hudson J. Presented at the 2006 American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting held in Indianapolis, Indiana (May 2008). view pdf
Comparison of BMI between university and professional soccer players. Konin JG, Koike K , Meredith J, Goodstein B. Presented at 2008 World Congress on Sports Injury Prevention held in Tromso, Norway (June 2008). view pdf
Body mass index for professional soccer players. Konin JG, Meredith J, Goodstein B. Presented at 2008 World Congress on Sports Injury Prevention held in Tromso, Norway (June 2008). view pdf