Summer heat and humidity can be dangerous for athletes as they return to practice and prepare for the fall season. This time of year, temperatures can remain in the 70s and 80s; athletes must be aware and take steps to keep hydrated and safe. Here are some tips that the CDC recommends coaches and parents use to keep the athletes healthy:
Schedule practices during the coolest part of the day. Early in the day or in the evening is best, this helps reduce the amount of time that athletes are exposed to the hottest rays of the Sun. Pace activity, start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.
Have the athletes take frequent and longer breaks when it is hot. Take a water break every 20-30 minutes. Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
Have athletes wear lighter clothes and limit the amount of heavy equipment used. Lightweight materials that breathe are best.
Have the athletes inform coaches when they do not feel well. Know the signs of heat-related illness or emergencies. Monitor a teammate’s condition, and have someone do the same for you.
Signs of heat-related illness:
- Rapid pulse
- Skin is red and dry or cool and pale
- Shallow breathing
- Muscle cramping
- Loss of consciousness/collapse
For more information visit cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/athletes. Continue to follow NEW Health for more health and wellness tips and information.