Keep Young Athletes Hydrated to Ward Off Heat Illness

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Recent U.S. heat wave prompts calls for regular water consumption during vigorous outdoor activities

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Whenever young people are outside playing or practicing in the heat, they need lots of fluids to replace what their bodies are losing through sweating

As America’s young people gear up for organized football, soccer and baseball practices this July and August, record high temperature forecasts have prompted medical experts to call for drinking water: more, early and often.

“To stay active and healthy, young athletes need plenty of the right kinds of fluids,” said Marjorie J. Albohm, MS, ATC, a member of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign and president of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association. “Staying hydrated is extremely important because water is what delivers oxygen to the muscles, providing fuel for grueling summer workouts.”

The STOP Sports Injuries campaign (http://www.STOPSportsInjuries.org)—launched this spring by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and a coalition of other health-related organizations—aims to arm the public with information and tools to prevent, recognize and treat the long-term consequences of sports overuse and trauma injuries to children.

“Whenever young people are outside playing or practicing in the heat, they need lots of fluids to replace what their bodies are losing through sweating,” said leading heat illness researcher and professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut, Doug Casa, PhD, ATC, FNATA, FACSM. “If the body isn’t replenished, dehydration can occur and increase the risk of a serious heat illness like heat stroke.”

Casa, Albohm and other sports experts warn coaches, trainers, parents and athletes to diligently monitor their conditions, being especially mindful of the symptoms of heat illness:

  •     Chills
  •     Dark-colored urine
  •     Dizziness
  •     Dry mouth
  •     Headaches
  •     Muscle cramps
  •     Thirst
  •     Weakness

Those young people just beginning summer practices for organized sports—like football, baseball and soccer—are particularly vulnerable to suffering some form of heat illness.

Casa recommends that young people drink at least eight ounces of fluids—such as water, juice, or sports drinks like Gatorade—before beginning outdoor activities, and up to five ounces more every 20 minutes during the activity. For more information on hydration issues, visit http://www.STOPSportsInjuries.org or http://www.nata.org.

The STOP Sports Injuries campaign was initiated by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and includes a comprehensive public outreach program focused on the importance of sports safety—specifically relating to overuse and trauma injuries. The initiative not only raises awareness and provides education on injury reduction, but also highlights how playing safe and smart can enhance and extend a child’s athletic career, improve teamwork, reduce obesity rates and create a lifelong love of exercise and healthy activity. The campaign’s message underscores the problems of youth overuse and trauma injuries and emphasizes the expertise of our coalition of experts, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Sports Physical Therapy Section, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and SAFE Kids USA. For more details, visit http://www.STOPSportsInjuries.org or contact AOSSM Director of Communication, Lisa Weisenberger at 847-292-4900.

Contact: Lisa Weisenberger
847-655-8647

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