WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Sunday, August 1, was the 20th anniversary of Korey Stringer’s death. He was a Warren native turned NFL lineman who died from exertional heat exhaustion.
But in death, Stringer left a legacy that lives on in most every football practice that was held Monday.
When asked the policy of giving guys breaks and drinking water, Warren Harding Head Football Coach Steve Arnold said, “Well, it’s very apropos right now. We’re going to give them a water break right now. So, every 10 to 15 minutes they’re getting a water break.”
The players gathered around the familiar green bottles, squeezing water into their mouths.
On the turf of Mollenkopf Stadium, where Stringer played high school football, water breaks is how he’s being remembered.
“I think sometimes through people’s death, we learn from it,” Arnold said.
“There is a lot of research coming out of the Korey Stringer Institute,” said Dr. John Jardine, medical director of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.
The institute started in 2010 through the efforts of Stringer’s widow, his agent and the NFL.
“With keeping both athletes and active populations, meaning occupational workers, military workers, safe especially in the heat and safe in doing what they do,” Jardine said.
Jardine says the NFL and NCAA get it, but in some parts of the country, there are still high schools that need to be taught how to deal with heat.
“So, we are going sometimes state to state, high school to high school to get the message out and to get the message out that there are ways to protect these kids, and that certainly people don’t have to die from exertional heat stroke,” he said.
Arnold says he wasn’t aware 20 years ago of the dangers of heat.
“Not like I am now, no,” he said.
The death of Korey Stringer changed football.
“You know, his passing has changed the way people approach two-a-days and practice,” Arnold said. “You’re more cognizant of heat, water breaks, maybe guys that are heavier.”
The Korey Stringer Institute has these recommendations for coaches:
- They should be trained in CPR, first-aid and AED use
- They should be trained to recognize serious injuries and emergencies
- There should be an emergency action plan that is practiced
- All coaches should be certified by the National Federation of State High School Associations.