The 1960s and into the 1970s is the deadliest era of football due to the number of catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries. Research identified the spearing tackling technique to be the primary cause. In 1976, the NCAA, followed by the NFL and NFSHSA, banned this technique. The season following the rule change resulted in a 50% reduction in the number of catastrophic spinal cord injuries.
The NCAA, in 2010, initiated a new policy mandating sickle cell trait (SCT) status knowledge in the preparticipation physical examination. This is after a pattern of unfortunate and preventable deaths occurred, linking sickle cell trait as a risk factor during intense conditioning. Fortunately for current and future student-athletes, this life-saving knowledge has prevented deaths as associated precautions are heeded. We are proud that our very own, Scott Anderson ATC and E Randy Eichner MD, continue to lead the way in this initiative. Oklahoma began testing our student-athletes nine years before it was a new policy within the NCAA. Our ongoing challenge is to take the lessons learned for athletes with SCT at the collegiate level and transfer the margin of safety to high school and youth athletes across the country.
Another ongoing challenge is the work and research in exertional heat stroke (EHS). Scott Anderson and Dr. Randy Eichner are actively working on data collection and analysis. They are formulating the next steps to mitigate EHS which will ultimately save lives.
In the last 26 years, Scott Anderson has overseen the expansion of care for student-athletes. The level and range of care has evolved, significantly. With this increased level and range of care, the costs have increased tremendously. The sports medicine budget in 2000 was $630,000. In the current fiscal year, the sports medicine projected expenses will be over $3.5 million.
SCOTT ANDERSON - Head Athletic Trainer
• 2018 recipient of Korey Stringer Institute Lifesaving Research Award for exceptional dedication and work in research aimed to advance knowledge regarding the prevention of sudden death in sport.
• President of the College Athletic Trainers Society (CATS).
• Co-director of the 2014 and 2016 Safety in College Football Summit, co-sponsored by the College Athletic Trainers Society
and the NCAA. The intent of the summit was to bring together a multifaceted group of experts who share a common interest in improving the culture of safety in intercollegiate sports in general, and football in particular.