Norton Sports Health delivers cold tubs to area high schools in daylong dash

Norton Sports Health delivered 100-gallon cold tubs to area schools in an effort to protect student-athletes from experiencing heat-related illness this summer.

For thousands of area high school athletes, the summer months mean lots of time on the field, practicing for upcoming fall sports seasons. While the hours of practice through the hot summer are designed to improve conditioning and team performance, they also put student-athletes at risk for heat-related illness.

That’s where the Norton Sports Health team comes in.

On Wednesday, May 15, Norton Sports Health staff members delivered 100-gallon cold tubs to 20 high schools across Louisville and Southern Indiana. The tubs are meant as a preventive measure to keep student-athletes safer from the risks of summer heat.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Aaron Mangum, MAT, ATC, CSCS, sports medicine coordinator, Norton Sports Health. “Our partnership with our schools — both private and public — is of utmost importance. These students are our future. They are the next generation of moms, dads and athletes. And we want to be able to provide them with the highest level of care available. And these cold tubs can save a life.”

The tubs were provided through a grant from the Max Gilpin Beat the Heat Fund through the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation. The fund is named for and honors Max, a high school athlete who died afrer experiencing heatstroke at a football practice in 2008.

According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, immediate immersion in cold water is a recommended treatment for someone experiencing heat illness from exertion.

The tubs delivered by Norton Sports Health are large enough to submerge two average-sized people, and can be used both for when heatstroke is imminent and for year-round injury recovery.

To treat heat illness, the tub is filled with water and ice and cooled to a temperature of roughly 50 degrees Fahrenheit. An athlete experiencing a heat illness can be immersed in the tub up to the neck, with towels placed over the head and neck.

The goal is to decrease the athlete’s body temperature rapidly, bringing it back to normal levels.

Delivery of the potentially lifesaving tubs builds on the commitment Norton Sports Health and KORT physical therapy have made to area schools. Since 2009, the partnership has provided on-site athletic trainers for more than two dozen high schools across Louisville and Southern Indiana. Over the past three years, that commitment has expanded to include area middle schools.

“It’s important for Norton Sports Health, and for Norton Healthcare as a whole, to make sure our community has what it needs,” said Stephanie Fish, program manager, Norton Sports Health. “During the long summer days, it can be dangerous to be outside. So for us to acquire these tubs, and put them to good use, is exact what we’re supposed to be doing — making our community a safer place.”

The Louisville schools that received tubs were Assumption High School, Butler High School, Central High School, Christian Academy of Louisville, Eastern High School, Grace James Academy of Excellence, Iroquois High School, Kentucky Country Day School, Male High School, Pleasure Ridge Park High School, Presentation Academy, Shawnee High School, Valley High School, Western High School, Waggener High School, Sacred Heart Academy and W.E.B. DuBois Academy. The Southern Indiana schools were Floyd Central High School, Christian Academy of Indiana and New Albany High School.

“I think as an athletic trainer, the biggest thing we can provide is prevention,” Aaron said. “And not just injury prevention, but illness prevention. Heatstroke is an illness, and a lot of our partner schools are not close to a trauma hospital. They’re not close to a place where [the athlete] can receive immediate care. And so, we’re trying to bring in resources to support emergency care, so they can be treated properly and timely.”

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