Exertional Heat Stroke, the Return to Play Decision, and the Role of Heat Tolerance Testing: A Clinician's Dilemma

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Abstract

Exertional heat stroke (EHS) is a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality among both athletes and warfighters. Since current evidence suggests that the history of a prior event is an important risk factor for an EHS event, sports medicine providers can find post-EHS return to play/duty (RTP/D) decisions challenging. Heat tolerance testing is a tool that can help with such decisions by exposing the subject to a given heat load under controlled conditions to assess the presence or absence of heat tolerance. This special communication explores the challenge of the RTP/D after an EHS event and the potential role of heat tolerance testing in making this clinical decision.

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