Being on the pitch or delivering one, having two-a-days in prep for fall soccer, or even in the competitive pool. Heat will take a toll on one’s body. So the summer athlete must take precautions not to become dehydrated or become susceptible to heat exhaustion or worse, heat stroke. A young person’s body can heat up five times faster than an adult body and the younger a person is, the more susceptible they are to dehydration.
First thing to remember, it’s necessary to properly hydrate before, during, and after an event. Rule of thumb, hydrate 60 minutes prior to an event, hydrate every 20 minutes during an event (10 gulps of water every 20 minutes = about 5 oz.), and continue to hydrate 30 minutes after an event. This includes the athlete, officials, and even spectators.
A note to sports officials (soccer ref’s and AR’s), take advantage of the opportunity to halt play for hydration, especially during those longer half’s with the adolescent student athletes. Hydration with water is preferred. However, sports drinks do include electrolytes that are also lost during activity so even though they usually contain a high amount of sugar, these drinks can be beneficial. Absolutely stay away from “energy” drinks which offer only high amounts of caffeine and have no health benefit what so ever. In fact, these drinks may be a danger to the young athlete. Also stay away from sodas, particularly those containing caffeine. Avoid coffee drinks, or alcohol.
Be aware of signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
Minor symptoms can lead to greater dangers, so coaches and ref’s be aware of any decrease in performance and fatigue in the athlete and be mindful of allowing substitutions to hydrate and allow the athlete to cool down. This can greatly contribute to the welfare of the over-heated athlete.
Remember to always Play Hard, Play Safe.
By Carlos Flores RN FCN