Playing it Safe in the Heat
With the temperature rising outside, it’s important to remember that proper hydration is extremely important and if not addressed could lead to serious illness and possible death. With lots of outdoor activities and sports this weekend and the forecast calling for extreme heat, it’s important to follow the guidelines below set forth by the U.S. Soccer Federation regarding preventing dehydration and heat-related illness.
- Get Acclimated! If you are going to be playing a game or tournament in the heat, make sure to train in the heat to acclimate your body.
- On a Schedule! Drink up! Do not depend on feeling thirsty to know if you should be hydrating or not. Athletes need to be encouraged to drink water or a sports drink like Gatorade intermittently throughout the day (every 15-30 minutes leading up to and in between games if in a tournament).
- Always bring a Gatorade (or some other type of sports drink)! Water is best to drink before practices and games and mixing water and sports drinks during and after a practice/game are recommended.
- Learn the warning signs of dehydration and heat illness!
Dehydration Signs and Symptoms (Treat with taking athlete to a shaded/cooler area, water/sports drink with electrolytes, rest from activity):
- Noticeable thirst
- Weakness, decreased performance
- Muscle Cramping
- Dark yellow urine
- Difficulty concentrating
Heat Exhaustion Signs and Symptoms (Treat with taking athlete to a shaded/cooler area, cold towels, water and sports drink with electrolytes, ice packs):
- Dizziness and Fatigue
- Chills or feeling cold
- Rapid pulse
Heat Stroke Signs and Symptoms (Requires immediate medical attention! Try to cool down athlete with ice packs and shade until medical personnel arrive.):
- High core body temperature
- Confusion, lethargic, loss of consciousness
- Collapse on the field
Recovery in between games: make sure to replenish the energy stores that you lost during competition within 30 minutes of activity. A nutritional bar, chocolate milk, sports drinks, and maybe a bagel with peanut butter are good options for quick recovery foods. Keep drinking water every 15-30 minutes even if not thirsty in between games. Lie down and rest in a cool place and if you nap, do not sleep for more than 30 minutes.
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