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State of the NFL Address - August, 2001
by Booker T. Carpenter

The untimely death of Korey Stringer was a sad day for the NFL. This death will force high school, college, and pro sports to reexamine their policies regarding practice conditions and the monitoring of athletes. Heatstroke related death is far more common in high school and college than it is in the NFL. This is the only documented case in over 70 years. As with any problem, the blame can be attributed to many factors.
First, what kind of shape was Korey in? I have yet to see someone 6'4 335 pounds that was in great shape. Where did he do his off-season conditioning? It's tough to get acclimated to the heat when you've been working indoors all summer.
Secondly, why did he continue to push himself when he obviously felt bad. The obvious answer is peer pressure. There is a small amount of peer pressure that's acceptable (depending on the situation). After that it becomes unhealthy.
Next, did the coaches, trainers, or teammates recognize something was wrong? When I played, it was not uncommon to see players vomiting. I can't recall any instances where trainers or coaches checked out the players.
Finally, did Korey know the procedure for proper hydration? How often does the heat index reach 110 in Minnesota? Minnesota is not viewed as a warm weather climate.
This tragedy is even harder to accept because NFL teams have several trained professionals at each team function. It's at the high school level where the shortage of professional trainers is alarming. This is not the time for rash actions. All procedures and practices should be reviewed and modified if necessary. This should serve as a warning and hopefully Korey Stringer has not died in vain, because one death is one too many.

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