Korey Stringer Institute’s Mission to Save Lives

Korey Stringer arrived to the hospital in Mankato, Minnesota with a fever of 108 degrees.  The pro-bowl offensive tackle was unconscious when he arrived at the hospital from the Minnesota Vikings practice field in August of 2001.  Stringer tragically passed away at the hospital after suffering from exertional heat stroke.  The worst possible nightmare for the Vikings medical staff turned into a reality that day, and since then Korey’s wife Kelci, Dr. Douglas

CCBY Willy Lange

Casa, ATC (an expert witness in Korey’s case), and Jimmy Gould (Korey’s NFL agent) threw themselves into working with the NFL to create an exertional heat stroke prevention program.  Partnered with many associations outside the academic world, their efforts came to a pinnacle in 2010.

In 2010 the Korey Stringer Institute was opened at the University of Connecticut.  Their one goal is to protect the health and safety of athletes of all ages and levels, active individuals, recreational athletes, members of the armed forces, and laborers in occupational settings.  As of today KSI has helped to change and implement safety policies in youth, high school, collegiate, and professional sports and undoubtedly saved countless lives through their efforts.  KSI uses a transdisciplinary approach, along with sprinklings of inter- and multidisciplinary ideas,  to achieve their mission.

The KSI is a non-profit organization and relies on its corporate partners to continue their efforts in education and prevention of heat related deaths in athletes and active individuals.  Their partners include the NFL, UConn, Gatorade, the NATA, Camelbak, Mission, HeatSmart.com, Kestrel, and Eagle

Playing field hockey for Pelham High School in the heat of August in 2011
photo by Madisen Giordano

Pharmaceuticals along with private donors that share the passion for protecting and educating athletes, active individuals and the medical personnel that oversee them.  Education and advocacy aren’t the only services offered by KSI.  The staff, which is 80% volunteers, also engages in consultations, athlete testing, research and mass-market outreach.

Many academic disciplines are involved in KSI including athletic training, kinesiology, nutrition, exercise physiology, cardiology, and neurology qualifying the institute as a multidisciplinary giant in the sports medicine world.  Research topics don’t just include prevention of heat related illnesses; they cover a wide range of prevention and care of injuries in active populations on all levels.

Running a timed two mile in 89 degree heat in August 2012
photo by Madisen Giordano

Thanks to one of KSI’s corporate partners, a brand new testing facility has opened this year at UConn’s KSI.  The MISSION Heat Lab is a state of the art lab with the newest technologies in climate control to help better understand heat exposure and humidity effects on the exercising body.  With the addition of this lab the Korey Stringer Institute can further their mission in preventing sudden death in sport.

The importance of proper nutrition and hydration for athletes exercising in extreme heat and/or humidity may seem like it would be close to common sense but, without the efforts of coaches and athletic trainers many young athletes and parents don’t know the ins and outs of staying healthy in these conditions.  Advocacy from the Korey Stringer Institute on heat related illness is becoming a wide spread topic of discussion and has implemented change

CCBY Mark Williams

across the world of sports.  Without the efforts and passion of Kelci Stringer, Dr. Douglas Casa, and Jimmy Gould, sudden death related to exertional heat stroke may not be as heavily researched as it is today.

KSI was developed from passion, like most non-profit organizations are.  The tireless efforts of the staff members of the institute save lives, better athletes and active individuals, and research relevant topics to keep them all safe.  Education and advocacy are the most powerful weapons of a non-profit like the KSI and they continue to hit the nail on the head for this sports medicine great.  Visit their website to learn more about the Korey Stringer Institute’s efforts to create a safer world for athletes, active individuals, military personnel and laborers.  https://ksi.uconn.edu/

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5 Replies to “Korey Stringer Institute’s Mission to Save Lives”

  1. It’s too bad that programs like this tend to only come about after someone has been injured or killed when they could have been helpful all along! It really shows how when people work together with passion, like you said. Things get done much faster and more efficiently. I also really agree with what you said about education and advocacy being the most powerful weapons.

  2. Madisen, what a great and interesting post! I have heard of KSI, but had no idea about all the sponsors that help create the state of the art facility that is KSI. You can tell that you are very passionate about helping athletes and learning more about the ways the world is currently bettering athletes. I thought you had great insight into the true meaning behind KSI and gave a realistic look into the work being done there currently. Keep up the great work!

  3. It seems as though every year around training camp this story comes back up and rightfully so because no family deserves to go through something like this. Its good to see that the NFL is starting to be proactive when it comes to player safety. Especially with all the news on CTE and the affects it has on players after their career. I think the NFL is finally taking a step in the right direction with player safety. Great read.

  4. Wow. I was riveted hearing about the story that catalyzed the institute, but then as an interdisciplinarian, I was encouraged to think that this kind of collaboration could be a part of improving health outcomes across so many kinds of current challenges. This was an inspiring post, and makes me happy that so many undergraduates are approaching their studies in health care through interdisciplinary programs!

  5. It is unfortunate that a player had to pass away before the NFL intervened, but it is encouraging to hear that they have taken the initiative and partnered with KSI to create an exertional heat stroke prevention program. I had not heard of KSI, but I think you did a great job explaining who they are and what they do. Very interesting post!

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