American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release Apr 22, 2008

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS:  The American College of Sports Medicine Exchange lecture was presented at the 2008 AMSSM Annual Meeting by William O Roberts MD, MS, FACSM, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His talk entitled The Effects of Unexpected Heat on Marathon Participants reviewed data from the Twin Cities Marathon and several others to demonstrate how heat stress can increase the medical encounter and drop out rates in marathons. This can be used to determine a “Do Not Start” level for races facing hot and humid conditions at the start of the event. Factors to consider in the decision beyond a measure of heat stress (wet bulb globe temperature) include: acclimatization of participants, type and number of participants, and the extent of the community medical assets of the host city. Current ACSM guidelines suggest canceling a road race at 82°F WBGT. However, the data presented by Dr. Roberts suggest that the cancellation temperature for non elite participants may be in the 68-70°F WBGT range for spring and fall marathons in the northern United States. Some races may tolerate higher temperature cut-offs if participants are elite-only, if participants are fully acclimatized to the weather, or if the number of participants is small compared to the community medical resources. Therefore, those in charge of a marathon should consider calculating the cancel level based on their own race data.

Dr. William Roberts M.D., M.S., FACSM, is the director and professor of St. John’s University of Minnesota Family Medicine Residency Program in St Paul, Minnesota. His primary research topics include ice hockey, marathons injury, and exertional heat stroke. He is a Past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, a charter member of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine, and has been named a recipient of the American College of Sports Medicine Citation Award for 2008. He has served as the medical director for the Twin Cities Marathon for over twenty years and serves as the chair of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for Minnesota State High School League. He is an editorial board member for a variety of sports medicine journals, serves as the editor-in-chief for McGraw Hill health care information projects, and is the senior associate editor for The Physician and Sports Medicine.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991 by physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes. AMSSM is comprised of over 1000 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 11639 Earnshaw, Overland Park, KS 66210, (913) 327-1415.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.

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4000 W. 114th Street, Suite 100
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Phone: 913.327.1415

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