Stringer’s death raises awareness at Iowa State

Jonathan Lowe

The heat that is affecting the Midwest has made another imprint on the sports world with the death of the Minnesota Vikings’ All-Pro Korey Stringer.

According to ESPN, the 27-year-old defensive lineman passed away due to complications from heat stroke suffered during practices on Tuesday. Springer passed away early Wednesday morning.

The incident is the second report in the span of a week of a football player dying from complications allegedly due to heat stroke.

A University of Florida freshman collapsed and died last week after a summer workout session.

ISU head athletic trainer Mark Coberly watches over such cases for the Cyclone football team. He has had a plan installed dealing with heat-related illnesses for the past three years.

Coberly said two things can be done to deal with illnesses that accompany heat stroke.

“Education and prevention is the bottom line,” he said.

“It’s a very preventable illness.”

ISU running back Ennis Haywood knows that the heat is one of the difficulties that comes with pre-season training. However, he said there are ways to avoid being overcome by the summer-like conditions.

“We’re going to practice regardless, and we’re going to be in the heat regardless,” he said.

“The main thing to remember is fluids, fluids, fluids. As long as we’re getting the proper rest and the proper fluids, we’ll be alright.”

Coberly said the trainers weigh the players before and after every practice, which allows them to see how much fluid has been lost through their bodies.

If the players aren’t within a certain level of their previous weight for the next practice, they could be monitored or have their practice regiment changed.

He said the procedure to help players differs depending on whether they are suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

“Heat exhaustion can be dealt with initially,” he said.

“We’re not going to let it get to the level of heat stroke. It’s a medical emergency and they need to get to the hospital.”

Coberly said his staff tries to prevent these type of instances from ever happening to the players.

“Our trainers and coaches have been doing an exceptional job,” Haywood said.

“They’ve been real good about watering us down.”

ISU defensive coordinator John Skladany said there is a doctor on the field for every practice and that he has been very impressed with the program that the training staff has used over the past few years.

“If a young man’s having trouble, we send them to the training facilities immediately,” he said.

“I have all the confidence in the world in them. We’re very lucky to have the quality of people that we have at Iowa State.”

Even with the recent news of the deaths, Coberly said the ISU training department won’t change the way they treat the athletes.

“I’m sure it’s going to raise the awareness at other places,” Coberly said.

“We’re doing so much anyway that we’re not going to change anything.”

With the Cyclones going to a two-a-day practice schedule soon, Haywood is aware of what occurred on Tuesday. He also trusts his well-being in the hands of the ISU trainers.

“You just have to be real cautious out there because it can happen to anybody,” he said.

“We just [have to] go out there and do our job because we know they’ll go out and do theirs.”

Skladany said it was hard to hear of the tragedy since it involved an activity he is close to. However, he knows that dealing with heat is a hardship of football training.

“Unfortunate things happen in every walk of life,” he said.

“You just try to prevent it from happening.”