Avoiding a Tragedy

Everyone in the football world, whether they are a player, coach or fan is greiving over the untimely loss of Minnesota Vikings OT Korey Stringer. Last Wednesday, July 25th, University of Florida Freshman Eraste Autin died from complications related to heat stroke, six days after collapsing and falling into a coma after a workout with teammates.

In October 1987, I was in the U.S. Army stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. I was sent to a school at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. The temperatures in Germany when I left were in the lower 70's. The temperatures in Texas were in the upper 80's and mid 90's.

I arrived around 3 am on a Friday morning. The following Friday the Army decided to give us a Physical Training (PT) test. It consisted of push-ups, sit-ups and a 2-mile run.

Almost all of the soldiers in my class had just finished basic training, so they were used to the high temperatures. But two of us were not. Myself and another soldier that had just come in from Korea. Both of us had just been living in much cooler climates.

After finishing the PT test, both of us collapsed from the heat. We were fortunate that Fort Sam Houston is the home of the Army Medical Corps. We were wisked away by ambulance to the emergency room where we were diagnosed as having heat exhaustion, just one step away from heat stroke.

This past weekend I was in Kansas City to attend my 20 year High School Reunion. On Monday, the high was 98 with a heat index of 112!!!! You could just stand still and lose 5 pounds in 20 minutes. Those were the same conditions that Korey Stringer died in. I was just walking around and became a little dizzy. I can just imagine how professional athletes must feel with all their equipment on.

So folks, summer still has a long way to go. Keep cool and drink plenty of fluids during long hot days of summer. We want to see you in Dowdy-Ficklen in the fall.


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