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When you finish this chapter you should be able to

  • Analyze the role of the immune system in preventing disease.

  • Differentiate different viral infections that may affect the patient.

  • Identify symptoms and signs of respiratory infections.

  • Categorize disorders of the muscular system.

  • Examine disorders associated with the nervous system.

  • Recognize disorders of the vascular and lymphatic systems.

  • Explain diabetes mellitus, and contrast diabetic coma and insulin shock.

  • Indicate the causes of epilepsy and explain how to perform the appropriate action when a seizure occurs.

  • Explain what causes hypertension and how it may be controlled.

  • Describe the classic symptoms and signs of cancer.

  • Compare and contrast the symptoms and signs of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Explain menstrual irregularities and their effect.

  • Review female reproduction and pregnancy.


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malaise thrombi benign
coryza embolus malignant
photophobia bacteremia amenorrhea
hemolysis epilepsy  


Visit for further exercises to apply your knowledge:

  • Clinical application scenarios covering identification and management of viral infections, respiratory infections; muscular, nervous, and vascular and lymphatic system disorders; and the female triad

  • Click-and-drag questions covering identification, classification, and signs and symptoms of viral infections; respiratory infections; muscular, nervous, and vascular and lymphatic system disorders

  • Multiple-choice questions covering role of the immune system; viral and respiratory infections; disorders to the muscular, nervous, and vascular and lymphatic systems; diabetes; cancer; sexually transmitted diseases; and the female triad


In addition to the many injuries that have been discussed in previous chapters, a variety of additional medical conditions can affect a patient. When illnesses occur, it is the athletic trainer’s responsibility to recognize these conditions and to follow up with appropriate care. Appropriate care for the illnesses and conditions discussed in this chapter often means referring the patient to a physician to provide medical care that is beyond the scope of the athletic trainer. The information provided in this chapter serves as a reference for the athletic trainer in making appropriate decisions regarding care of the sick patient.


The immune system is not an organ system but is instead a collection of disease-fighting cells populating the lymphatic and other organ systems that recognize the presence of foreign substances in the body and act to neutralize or destroy them.62 Illness results when the immune system fails to neutralize or destroy the invading offender. Immunity means being protected from a disease by having been previously exposed to an invading agent, called an antigen. Immunity may be acquired actively, as a result of a natural infection or invasion of antigens, or passively from inoculation.69...

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