Tennis Players Suffer in the Heat Served Up at the 2005 US Open

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Tennis Players suffering from the heat should have access to Cooling Vests to help prevent heat stress.

The hot, humid and hazy New York weather has already aced many competitors at the 2005 US Open Tennis Championships. Several players have already shown signs of severe heat stress, with Andy Murray vomiting on-court, Akiko Morigami taken from the court in a wheelchair, and Michael Llodra collapsing and taken to hospital. Several players have retired due to the heat, while other matches have been delayed by players taking several injury time outs to try and cool down.

How long is there before a serious life threatening heat related illness occurs at the US Open? Are images of tennis players collapsing and vomiting providing a good image for the sport? Are the organizers providing safe working conditions?

The Australian Open Tennis Championships are also played in the middle of Summer, where on-court conditions can be much hotter than those experienced at the US Open. Over the past few years the Australian Tournament organizers have been providing ice cold Arctic Heat Cooling Vests to help prevent the players suffering from heat stress. The body cooling vests can be used prior to the match, to pre-cool and also used during the breaks between games. The Arctic Heat cooling vests help players to stabilize their core body temperature and will also help players to reduce the amount of fluids lost through sweat.

Images of athletes pushing themselves to the limit in the hot, high humidity conditions might be good for the drama of the US Open event; however these athletes are risking serious heat illness injuries, even death. The facts are that heat stroke can kill.

The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research reports that 24 football players (19 high school, 3 college and 2 professional) have died from heatstroke between 1995 and 2004, and another high school football player has died this summer.

When Athletes sweat at a rate higher than maximum fluid intake, their bodies struggle to stay cool and their core body temperature begins to climb. Sports drinks will help with faster re-hydration, but in many cases you simply can not get the fluids back into the body fast enough. When the body’s core temperature gets too high, the sweating process stops and the body starts to shut down. This is a very serious situation.

The Arctic Heat Cooling Vest was used extensively at the Athens Olympics, and Internationally by all the major sporting codes, Soccer, Rugby, Rowing, Cricket, Football, Hockey, Athletics and even the military in Iraq to name but a few. It would appear that the major US sporting codes are lagging behind.

Perhaps showcase events like the US Open Tennis, and other sports such as Baseball, Softball and Football teams should be considering not only the health of their players who are participating in the heat, but also the images and messages that are being provided to the general public. The message at the moment is (when participating in the heat) is to compete hard until you drop. These sports could be helping to educate the public about the latest ways to reduce and prevent heat stress.

The lightweight Arctic Heat Cooling vest uses a two stage cooling process. The vests contain a gel-like substance that can be frozen or chilled. The cooling vests are manufactured using Woolmark's Sportwool, a special body cooling fabric which incorporates Vapor Management Technology helping to wick moisture away from the skin, allowing the user to keep dry.

The Arctic Heat body cooling vest which is suitable for industrial, medical and sporting applications, retails for $174.95, and can be purchased online through the Arctic Heat USA website http://www.arcticheatusa.com .

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Dean Sainsbury
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