Heat Illness
HEAT ILLNESS
 
Your players may experience a heat disorder during one of your games or practices. This is the result of strenuous athletic activity in hot humid weather. It is important for a coach and player to understand the body’s response to heat and the cause of heat illness. Most symptoms of heat illness can be prevented. Please read this entire sheet.

Definition: Heat related problems occur when an athlete involved in intense sports activities experiences painful symptoms from the body attempting to cool itself. The main cooling mechanism is sweating through the skin. Evaporation in turn reduces body temperature.

Heat related problems occur when an athlete involved in intense sports activities experiences painful symptoms from the body attempting to cool itself. The main cooling mechanism is sweating through the skin. Evaporation in turn reduces body temperature.

Signs & Symptoms: Below are some of the symptoms your players may experience.

Below are some of the symptoms your players may experience.Heat Cramps Sudden, painful muscle cramps, may be mild to severe, usually in the calf or quad muscles. Due to rapid fluid loss from sports, etc. The least severe form of heat illness.

Heat Exhaustion

Profuse sweating with cool clammy skin Headache, dizziness Nausea, weakness Rapid heart rate Sweating mechanism is starting to fail.

Heat Stroke

The sweating mechanism fails. The player will not be sweating anymore and is burning up inside. The player will be unconscious, or close to it. This is a medical emergency and should be transported to the hospital.

Immediate Care and Treatment: For heat cramps or muscle spasms, and heat exhaustion, go to a cool, shady place if possible and drink large amounts of cool water to replace fluids lost. Also gently stretch the muscles in spasm, lightly massage, and apply ice.

Prevention of Heat Related Problems: Most heat related problems can be prevented. Below are some suggestions to help prevent painful heat cramps or more serious heat exhaustion from occurring

: Most heat related problems can be prevented. Below are some suggestions to help prevent painful heat cramps or more serious heat exhaustion from occurring

Gradual acclimatization: 

Begin preseason conditioning at least 2-4 weeks prior to the start of a sports season. This is probably the single most important method to prevent heat illness

Fluid replacement: 

It takes 24 hours to rehydrate your body after intense exercise in hot weather. Be sure to drink plenty of water and/or commercial drinks such as Gatorade are helpful. You must drink between practices and at night. Be aware that players must drink more than their thirst tells them to.

Avoid caffeinated drinks: 

Colas and other high sugar drinks will give a player a quick sugar energy boost. Beware they will 'drop' twice as low after the sugar is burned up their body. Food or drinks with Caffeine in them will actually increase fluid loss and will cause serious heat illness problems.

Proper Diet:

A well balanced diet is important to replace the needed electrolytes. Reduce fat intake, and add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bananas, oranges, and lowfat milk help to replace lost minerals.

Clothing: 

Wear white, light shirts. Change the shirts often to absorb more sweat. If you are going to wear a mesh shirt be sure the mesh is small with small holes.