39 : Dr. Rebecca Stearns + Hunter & Savannah Knighton, Exertional Heat Stroke, Korey Stringer Institute Series, Part 2/4

We continue our Korey Stringer Institute Heat Stroke education series in episode 39.  This is part 2 of 4, so if you missed part one go back and listen to Episode 38 with Dr. Douglas Casa, CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute and survivor of exertional heat stroke.  In Episode 38 we not only learned  about the history of the Korey Stringer Institute, but we also learned the proper way to diagnose and treat the illness.  In addition we heard Gavin Class’ amazing comeback story after he flat lined in the hospital and received a liver transplant due to complications from his heat stroke.  

In Episode 39, we hear from KSI’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Rebecca Stearns.  Dr. Stearns talks about the various educational resources KSI offers on multiple sports health & safety topics.  She also shares her own tale of perseverance when she got back to running marathons after suffering from a DVT and pulmonary embolism.  We also focus on the importance of hydration in preventing exertional heat stroke.  You will find LITERALLY anything you could possibly want to know about hydration and fluid replacement from the link in the last sentence! Here is the specific link for calculating sweat rate as we discussed in the interview.  

One of KSI’s interns and current LSU Athletic Training Student, Savannah Knighton also joined us in this interview and she tells the tale of her brother Hunter’s exertional heat stroke.   We also hear from Hunter himself, who is currently fighting for a starting position on the Miami Hurricanes Offensive line. This part can be found at the 35:00 minute mark. Dr. Stearns worked directly with Hunter to ensure his safe return to football down in the hot south florida weather.  Having the three of these very different perspectives makes for a very interesting  episode and I hope you not only enjoy their stories, but also learn about how the culture of toughness in sports can even have an effect on decision making for some of the best athletic trainers in the game.  USA Today wrote a great story on Hunter's recovery and the work he did with the KSI staff (Click Here)

The Korey Stringer Institute has countless resources on their website to keep athletes safe, which include Concussion, Heat Acclimatization, Automated External Defibrillators and Emergency Action Plan Policies just to name a few.  Links to these and other resources can be found at ksi.uconn.edu.  

Hunter Knighton currently plays offensive line for the Miami Hurricanes, but he is lucky to have survived his exertional heat stroke.  He spent 12 days in a coma, lost 55 pounds and underwent surgery to repair paralyzed vocal chords. It took him close to 1.5 years to get back on the field. This tremendous feat led to Hunter winning the Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award after the 2015 season. Hunter explains the how a fever contributed to the perfect storm that caused his heat stroke.  He also talks about his gut-feeling of knowing that he shouldn't have been practicing that day and even some of his teammates noticed something was off about him. Just like with concussions, teammates need to look out for their buddies both on and off the field. In my opinion thats one of the only ways to combat the culture of toughness in sports.  In the second half of the episode, Hunter and I talk about a variety of topics in addition to the heat stroke and these include: 

  • Coming back from shoulder surgery (pre-heat stroke)

  • Adjusting to the speed of the game in Division 1 football

  • Athletes in Action

  • Hospital hallucinations





Download Episode 39 : iTunes | Stitcher