For the past 20 years, Dr. Casa has worked toward his goals at the Department of Kinesiology, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut. During this time he has published more than 250 peer-reviewed publications/book chapters and presented more than 500 times on subjects related to exertional heat stroke, heat-related illnesses, preventing sudden death in sport, maximizing athletic performance in the heat, and hydration. Dr. Casa has successfully treated 295 cases of exertional heat stroke (with 0 fatalities). In October 2005 and 2010 the Department of Kinesiology doctoral program at the University of Connecticut was ranked number 1 in the country by the National Academy of Kinesiology (for 20005-2105). Additionally, in September 2010 the National Research Council ranked the faculty in the Department of Kinesiology number one for research productivity.
Dr. Casa is CEO of Korey Stringer Institute at UConn, and was named full professor of kinesiology in August 2010. He was named a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor by the University of Connecticut in June 2023. In 2008 he was the recipient of the medal for distinguished athletic training research from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. In 2016 Dr. Casa received the highest honor in his field when he was named a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology (FNAK #556). He was named a fellow of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2008. He received the Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2007 and has been a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine since 2001. In 2011 he was inducted into the University of Florida alumni hall of fame. He has been a lead or co-author on over 15 sports medicine (ACSM, NATA) position statements/consensus statements/roundtables related to heat illness, hydration, and preventing sudden death. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Athletic Training, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports and on the editorial board of Current Sports Medicine Reports, Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, and the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Dr. Casa has worked with numerous media outlets across the country in discussing his research including the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America, ESPN, CNN, PBS, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Areas of Expertise (10)
Exertional Heat Illnesses
Preventing Sudden Death
Exercise & Heat
University of Connecticut: Ph.D. 1997
University of Florida: M.S. 1993
Allegheny College: B.S. 1990
- Journal of Athletic Training, Section Editor
- Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, Editorial Board
- Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
- Current Sports Medicine Reports, Editorial Board
National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame (professional)
Induction into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame honors athletic trainers who exemplify the mission of NATA through significant, lasting contributions that enhance the quality of health care provided by athletic trainers and advance the profession.
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor (professional)
The highest honor the University of Connecticut bestows on its faculty, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors must excel in all three areas of research, teaching, and public engagement.
National Academy of Kinesiology
President’s Lecturer (professional)
American College of Sports Medicine National Meeting
NSCA President’s Award (professional)
NSCA President’s Award
Media Appearances (26)
This county could create the strictest workplace heat rules in the U.S.
The Washington Post print
But heat’s impact isn’t limited to the steamy subtropics of South Florida. “The reality is, every county in America needs to worry about it at least part of the year,” said Douglas Casa, head of the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, which publishes research on heat illness among workers and athletes.
How Does Extreme Heat Affect the Body?
The New Yorker - Political Scene Podcast
Dhruv Khullar, a New Yorker contributor and practicing physician, visited the Stringer Institute to undergo a heat test—walking uphill for ninety minutes in a hundred-and-four-degree temperature—to better understand what’s happening. “I just feel puffy everywhere,” Khullar sighed. “You’d have to cut my finger off just to get my wedding ring off.” By the end of the test, Khullar spoke of cramps, dizziness, and a headache. He discussed the dangers of heatstroke with Douglas Casa, the lab’s head (who himself nearly died of it as a young athlete). “Climate change has taken this into the everyday world for the everyday American citizen. You don’t have to be a laborer working for twelve hours, you don’t have to be a soldier in training,” Casa tells him. “This is making it affect so many people even just during daily living.”
How deadly is Florida heat? There’s a big gap between official numbers and likely impact
Bradenton Herald print
“I think it’s grossly under-reported,” said Doug Casa, who heads research on heat illness at the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute. “Laboring in the heat is one of the main reasons to have cardiac events…When a worker dies in the heat of a cardiac event, it’s getting recorded as a cardiac event, it’s not going down as the heat that caused it.” “If a person’s not a U.S. citizen or they’re working here illegally, we’ll basically never hear about those cases,” Casa added.
Are New Mexico high schools AED Ready? Some say rules among weakest in nation
When NFL football player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in January, there was one thing nearby that saved his life — a defibrillator. "The first words I said after he went down, within 10 seconds I yelled up to my wife and I said, I think an NFL player just died on the field,” said Douglas Casa, director of the Korey Stringer Institute, that was named after the last professional football player to die on the field.
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: Sudden Cardiac Arrest In Young Athletes
HBO Max tv
When Damar Hamlin collapsed on Monday Night Football, it was a shocking event that stunned audiences on national television. The sight of a healthy young athlete going into sudden cardiac arrest was hard for most people to comprehend. Yet, sudden cardiac arrest happens more than 100 times per year to high school athletes around the country. Since only 16 states mandate automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at high school sporting events, the result of these occurrences is often tragic.
Will Hot Drinks Keep You Cool on Hot Days?
Southern Living online
When asked if there is any science behind the belief that drinking hot drinks in hotter weather helps manage body heat, Douglas J. Casa, Ph.D., CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute and a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut, told Southern Living, "[There is ] absolutely no evidence. To be very clear, hot drinks are a very bad idea during hot weather. They will cause you to heat up even more than you already are. "It is very beneficial to have cold drinks to cool yourself down from the inside," Casa continued. "Some good evidence is the benefit of slushie-type drinks to help keep body temperature down."
Heat Training for Tokyo
NBC Connecticut tv
Learn how your favorite athletes are preparing to tackle the heat in preparation for one of the hottest Olympic Games in recent history -- featuring Dr. Douglas Casa, CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn.
Why I Douse My Whole Body With Cold Water Every Night
New York Times online
Heatstroke happens either because the person has spent extended time in a hot environment like a locked car or apartment and can’t cool down (known as “classic” heatstroke) or because of intense exercise that overheats the body, overriding its ability to self-cool (known as “exertional” heatstroke). Above that internal temperature, our central nervous system becomes impaired; after 30 minutes, cell membranes begin to fail, causing tissue damage. Some people—including those with underlying health conditions, folks over 65, very young children, and people in spaces without AC—are at an even higher risk. Douglas Casa, who heads the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, told me that getting a person’s body temperature down fast, within 30 minutes of the onset of heatstroke, is crucial: “When that’s been done, survivability has been 100 percent.”
A living legacy: Korey Stringer Institute works to prevent sudden death in athletes
Local 12 tv
“My passion from heatstroke stems from my experiences almost 35 years ago now,” Casa told Local 12 back in March. “Everything that I’ve done since then -- my schooling, my clinical care and the research I’ve conducted.” Heatstroke is dangerous but survivable. Casa travels the world to share KSI's work on everything from heat acclimation policies to cold tub immersion.
Climate Control: Handling Heat Acclimation in Athletes
Coach & A.D. online
Dr. Douglas Casa, a professor of kinesiology and the director of athletic training education at the University of Connecticut, believes that teams are entering uncharted territory this fall in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Casa, also the chief executive officer at the Korey Stringer Institute, whose mission is educating about and preventing heat-related illnesses and issues among athletes, said that great care must be taken by everyone involved this coming summer to keep players safe.
Returning To Training Safely During A Pandemic
Three Cycle Strength Podcast online
The Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), with the help of several other experts in the field of sports medicine and athletic performance, has published a critical document with recommendations on how to return to sports and exercise safely during the current pandemic. In this episode, Dr. Douglas Casa, the CEO at KSI, shares his perspective on this document and the unique challenges COVID-19 presents. Casa is one of the foremost experts in exertional heat stroke, heat-related illnesses, preventing sudden death in sport and hydration. With hundreds of peer-reviewed publications under his belt, and having successfully treated over 300 cases of exertional heat stroke with zero fatalities, Casa has dedicated his life to research that keeps athletes safe.
Heat illness more dangerous, easier to prevent than you think
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 11 labor workers are seriously injured or die from heat stress each day in the United States. We sat down recently to talk to Dr. Douglas J. Casa, CEO of the University of Connecticut-based Korey Stringer Institute (KSI). The mission of the KSI is to provide research, education, advocacy and consultation to maximize performance, optimize safety and prevent sudden death for the athlete, warfighter and laborer.
How Training In Heat Can Improve Your Performance
Men's Health print
Douglas Casa, Ph.D., runs KSI and the heat lab. In his office, surrounded by memorabilia from organizations he’s worked with, including the NCAA and the NFL, he explains to me how it works. During a standard gym workout, your skeletal muscles and heart both require extra blood. If the gym’s AC were to break on a hot day, “suddenly your skin needs a lot more blood too,” Casa says. “That’s how you cool yourself down—you send hot blood right to the skin’s surface so you can sweat the heat out.”
Protecting Players: Preventing and Treating Exertional Heat Stroke
National Football League online
As a heat wave continues across much of the country this week, the NFL continues its work to further prepare clubs to address heat-related illness. Thanks to the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, the NFL distributed a video to its clubs that reviews best practices for treating exertional heat stroke. In the video, Dr. Douglas J. Casa, PhD, CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) and Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut, provides step-by-step guidelines designed by KSI to prevent, identify, assess and treat exertional heat stroke – a severe condition characterized by a body temperature above 105 degrees and signs of central nervous system dysfunction.
'Shoes will melt.' Hot turf may pose risk for athletes
E&E News online
The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut ranks states based on their high school sports safety policies. The institute gets its name from the Minnesota Vikings player who died after suffering from heatstroke during training camp. Colorado, California, Wyoming, Iowa and North Dakota were among the lowest-ranking states, and they all lacked mandated heat modification policies. "It's very sad," said institute CEO Douglas Casa. "Some of the most simple things you can imagine states don't have to protect athletes."
Athlete vs. heat
Washington Post print
It was 95 degrees and sticky in Orlando but 30 degrees cooler inside air-conditioned Orange County Convention Center. A crowd of more than 6,000 gathered in late spring for the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, the largest such gathering in the world. Heat-related topics have become a staple of these meetings, and about 200 people — athletic trainers, doctors, researchers, physiologists and performance coaches among them — gathered in Room 303 for a presentation focused on next summer’s Olympics. Doug Casa, head of the Korey Stringer Institute who serves on a commission dedicated to heat-related issues for the Tokyo Games, offered the crowd a brief history lesson.
Collapse and Confusion: The Death of a Juco Football Player
Sports Illustrated print
Dr. Douglas J. Casa, who is the CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, echoed Eichner’s statement. According to Casa, patients whose temperature gets under 104° through cold water immersion within 30 minutes have survived in all known previous cases. From 2000 to '09, there were 30 heat stroke deaths in high school and college sports. Casa estimates there have been around 35 deaths in the decade since, with one more summer season to go. While those numbers include athletes from all sports, football and cross-country account for about 90% of the fatalities.
How to Prevent and Treat Heat Stroke
Outside Magazine print
"The key thing for people’s outcome is the number of minutes their temperature is over 105 degrees,” says Douglas Casa, CEO of the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, named after the Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman who died of heatstroke during an August 2001 training camp. Survival is highly likely if the core temperature is brought below 104 degrees within 30 minutes. Here are Casa’s tips on prevention and treatment.
After 2 boot camp deaths at Great Lakes base, Navy urges vigilance for recruits with sickle cell trait
Chicago Tribune print
Douglas Casa of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, which aims to prevent sudden death in athletes, helped craft a statement about treating sickle cell emergencies for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. He said people with the trait can endanger themselves during high stakes physical tests, such as the 1.5-mile run Navy recruits must conquer in a set time to graduate from boot camp (women in their late teens, for example, have to finish in less than 14:45). “If someone’s really struggling, no one should be pushing or screaming at them to continue,” he said. “They should stop and be protected. We really have to ask if (the 1.5-mile run) is the best way to evaluate the fitness of someone with sickle cell trait.”
From weightlifter to bedridden: Marine’s tale reflects military’s growing heatstroke problem
Stars and Stripes online
Doug Casa, chief executive officer of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, named for the Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle who died of heatstroke at the NFL team’s preseason training camp in 2001, estimated cases of heatstroke are underreported “by a factor of 10,” he said. “I don’t think (the official reports) even come close,” Casa said.
3 Simple Things I Do to Make Winter Running More Enjoyable
SELF Magazine print
“Running in the cold is massively easier on the body,” says Doug Casa, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. He explains that with the warm weather, you have to cool yourself down and your body works to bring a massive amount of blood supply to the surface of the skin to avoid overheating. In cooler temperatures, you don't need to sweat much. Therefore, your blood can be conserved for the muscles and your heart. The outcome? You may find you can reach a faster pace with the same amount of effort.
Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel
College Football Workout Deaths, an HBO Show called Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
What You Need to Know About Heat Stroke
U.S. News & World Report print
The length of time that heat stroke affects someone is highly variable, says Douglas Casa, chief executive officer of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. The institute is named after a Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman who collapsed and died of heat stroke after a practice in July 2001. If a heat stroke victim's core body temperature is brought below 104 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes, he or she typically will recover completely and resume normal activities in two to four weeks, Casa says. If the core body temperature isn't cooled down quickly enough, a heat stroke victim could suffer long-term complications such as cognitive problems, like memory loss; an intolerance and inability to cope with heat; muscle damage; and kidney and liver problems.
Cold Workout Classes Are a New Fitness Trend—and Science Says They're Legit
Shape magazine print
Quick science lesson: When you start to exercise, experts say your core body temperature can reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within minutes. Sweating, a process of evaporation, is how the body cools itself down. "When a sweat droplet evaporates, it lowers your skin temperature, which helps pull the heat out of your body more efficiently," says Doug Casa, Ph.D., CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute, which provides research on exertional heat stroke prevention. That's not a sign of how hard you're working. That's just a physical reaction—one you're just as likely to experience during a HIIT workout or during a stroll on a hot summer day. But what if your body didn't have to cool itself down during exercise? You'd actually perform better, says Casa.
Sports Study: High School Athletes Not Being Fully Protected
The New York Times online
"Casa notes that progress is slow because most states only make a change after a tragedy. But he stresses that the policies KSI promotes are not difficult to adopt." (...)
Korey Stringer's death lingers on a final trip to Mankato
"The big thing is that we know death from heat stroke is 100 percent preventable," said Douglas Casa, the CEO of KSI and a professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. (...)
An athletic trainer saved my life as a teen. Student athletes don't have to dieCourier Journal
When I was 16 years old, I was running a 10K race at the Empire State Games. Through my youth, I dreamed of representing Long Island at the finals. I accomplished my dream as a rising senior. On Aug. 8, 1985, I took to the track on a warm morning, ready to run the fastest I ever had. With a half lap to go, I collapsed and immediately got back up. I ran the final turn and collapsed again. I would not get up from the second collapse. I was in the throes of an exertional heat stroke.
Top 10 Research Questions Related to Preventing Sudden Death in Sport and Physical ActivityResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Rachel K. Katch, Samantha E. Scarneo, William M. Adams, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Luke N. Belval, Julie M. Stamm & Douglas J. Casa
2017 Participation in organized sport and recreational activities presents an innate risk for serious morbidity and mortality. Although death during sport or physical activity has many causes, advancements in sports medicine and evidence-based standards of care have allowed clinicians to prevent, recognize, and treat potentially fatal injuries more effectively. With the continual progress of research and technology, current standards of care are evolving to enhance patient outcomes. In this article, we provided 10 key questions related to the leading causes and treatment of sudden death in sport and physical activity, where future research will support safer participation for athletes and recreational enthusiasts. The current evidence indicates that most deaths can be avoided when proper strategies are in place to prevent occurrence or provide optimal care.
Biomarkers in Sports and Exercise: Tracking Health, Performance, and Recovery in AthletesThe Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Lee, Elaine C. Ph.D; Fragala, Maren S. Ph.D; Kavouras, Stavros A. Ph.D; Queen, Robin M. Ph.D; Pryor, J. Luke Ph.D; Casa, Douglas J. Ph.D., ATC
2017 Biomarker discovery and validation is a critical aim of the medical and scientific community. Research into exercise and diet-related biomarkers aims to improve health, performance, and recovery in military personnel, athletes, and lay-persons. Exercise physiology research has identified individual biomarkers for assessing health, performance, and recovery during exercise training. However, there are few recommendations for biomarker panels for tracking changes in individuals participating in physical activity and exercise training programs.
Identification and Treatment of Exertional Heat Stroke in the Prehospital SettingJournal of Emergency Medical Services
Neha Raukar, Renée S. Lemieux, Douglas J. Casa, Rachel K. Katch
2017 A 15-year-old football player collapses during practice on a day when the heat index is 114 degrees F. Bystanders move the patient to the shade and EMS is called. Upon arrival, paramedics jump in to assist the bystanders, who are removing the boy's pads, uniform and equipment. The transport of the patient to the hospital took 15 minutes. In the ED, the patient's Glasgow coma scale was 5, and his rectal temperature was 107.3 degrees F. He is cooled with IV fluids and cool water misting. The patient died on the fourth day of hospitalization as a combined consequence of the effects of an exertional heat stroke (EHS), including, hepatorenal failure, sepsis, coagulopathy, and cardiopulmonary collapse.
LPS-Induced TLR4 Activation During Prolonged Running and Cycling Events in Hot and Humid EnvironmentsThe Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Yuri Hosokawa, Jacob R Zinn, Skylar Wright, Madeline Leduc, Emily Howard, Joseph J Bivona, Douglas J Casa, Rebecca L Stearns, Robert A Huggins, William M Adams, John Jardine, Robert J Davis, Lawrence E Armstrong, Jakob Vingren, Hui Ying Luk, Danielle Levitt, Matthew S Ganio, Brendon P McDermott, Keith Williamson6, Amy L McKenzie, Colleen X Munoz, Laura J Kunces, and Elaine C Lee
2017 We aimed to test the hypothesis that competing in prolonged cycling (50–100 mile event) or high-intensity running (7 mile race) events in hot and humid environments (heat index>80°F) result in LPS-induced TLR4 activation and changes in cellular gene expression.
Comparing Ad Libitum and Prescribed Fluid Replacement to Fluid Balance Following Exercise-Induced DehydrationThe Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
William M Adams, Lesley W Vandermark, Luke N Belval, Elaine C Lee, Lawrence E Armstrong, Lindsay J DiStefano and Douglas J Casa
2017 Objective: To test the hypothesis that prescribed fluid replacement is more effective at replacing fluid losses than ad libitum replacement following exercise-induced dehydration.