02:00pm Sunday 05 April 2020

Keep young athletes hydrated to ward off heat illness

“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 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 STOP Sports Injuries or NATA.

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