In April 2010, the University of Connecticut (UConn) announced the formation of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), funded by the NFL in partnership with UConn and Gatorade. The Institute is dedicated to furthering research, education and advocacy for the prevention of heat stroke and sudden death in sport. The Institute is named after Korey Stringer, a Pro Bowl offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings who passed away from complications due to heat stroke on Aug. 1, 2001, during training camp.
KSI was founded by Kelci Stringer, the widow of Korey Stringer, with the goal of ultimately minimizing sudden death in sport for any reason, beginning with exertional heat stroke. Kelci, who serves as the Institute’s Chief Executive Officer, chose UConn because its Department of Kinesiology is a national leader in the study of heat and hydration issues related to athletes and the physically active. UConn Kinesiology Professor Douglas J. Casa, Ph.D., ATC, the Institute’s lead researcher, is one of the country’s preeminent experts in the field.
Through its website ksi.uconn.edu, the Institute provides state-of-the-art information and resources to organized sports teams and the general public on the proper precautions necessary to avoid heat stroke. The Institute also offers its services to athletic trainers, team physicians, athletic directors, coaches, equipment manufacturers, parents, principals and others to create proper protocols, policies and emergency action plans to prevent sudden death in sport, especially as it relates to heat stroke. In the future, the Institute will provide a comprehensive research database on current information related to sudden death and heat stroke in sport and will help set health and safety standards for coaches, trainers and equipment manufacturers.
The NFL and Gatorade have also partnered on a “Beat the Heat” campaign to educate athletes, parents and coaches about heat-related illness and the importance of proper hydration and nutrition before, during and after practices and games. The organizations have collaborated to create and distribute the Gatorade Heat Safety Kit, an educational resource for athletes, parents and coaches which can be downloaded at no cost.