Every year a number of tragedies occur relating
to Heat Stroke and dehydration. Proper hydration
as well as recognizing and preventing heat illness
are very important topics for all coaches to
Athletes, young and old, increase their risk
of heat illness as they become dehydrated. According
to the National Athletic Trainers' Association,
it is not uncommon to reach dehydration levels
significant enough to place athletes at risk
of developing heat illness in as little as an
hour of exercise. Athletes can reach this level
even more rapidly if they begin the workout,
practice or competition ALREADY DEHYDRATED.
It is quite common for many young players to
arrive at practice already dehydrated. A full
day at school, running around at recess, gym
class, not eating or drinking properly through
out the day will all contribute to a child being
dehydrated before practice even starts!
A Good Strategy for Proper Hydration
PreHydrate - Before practice
Hydrate - Throughout the
practice or game
ReHydrate - After the
practice or game
Players should drink 16 oz
of fluid first thing in the morning of a practice
Players should consume 8-16
oz of fluid one hour prior to the start of
the practice or game.
Players should consume 8-16
oz of fluid 20 minutes prior to the start
of the practice or game.
- Players should have unlimited access to fluids (sports drinks and
water) throughout the game or workout.
- Players should drink during the practice or game to minimize losses
in body weight but should not over drink.
- ALL PLAYERS should consume fluids during "water breaks". Many players
will say that they are not thirsty; however, in many cases by the
time they realize that they are thirsty they are already dehydrated
or on their way to be dehydrated. Make sure all your players are getting
the proper fluids.
- Parents or Coaches should weigh players before and after practice.
For each pound lost during the workout, an athlete should consume
at least 24 oz of fluid. If this recommended amount of fluid is not
consumed, the player must replace 80% of lost weight by next practice
to avoid dehydration.
- Players/Parents should check the color of a player's urine. If
it is a dark, gold color (like apple juice) the player is already
slightly dehydrated. If it is very pale yellow (like lemonade) then
he is on the way to being hydrated.
Other Hydration Tips
- Avoid carbonated drinks. They can cause bloating and may decrease
the amount of fluid consumed.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol as they cause the body
to lose body fluids.
- Fluid containing carbohydrate and small amounts of sodium chloride
are likely to have more beneficial effects than plain water.
- Allow for acclimation - Acclimation is the body's adaptation to
a hot environment. Slowly increase practice intensity and duration
over the first two weeks of training. Most cases of heat illness occur
in the first 2 to 3 days of training.
- Drink it. Don't pour it - A player pouring fluid over his/her head
may feel great but won't help restore body fluids or lower body temperature.
- Exercise in the morning or evening - This is when the weather is
coolest. Also, avoid the direct sun to minimize radiant heat from
the sun and hot playing surfaces.
- Dress for the weather - Keeping cool in hot weather means wearing
fewer clothes and frequently removing gear like helmets during breaks.
Ways to Recognize the Early Warning Signs of Dehydration
These can include but are not limited to:
- Loss of Energy " Dizziness
- Loss of Coordination
- Above Normal Levels of Fatigue
- Dark Yellow Urine
1. Casa, DJ. et al. J. Athl Train 35:212-224, 2000.
2. Below PR et al. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 27: 200-210, 1995. 3. Murray
R et al. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 27: 1057-1062, 1995. 4. Fritzsche,
R.G. et al. J. Appl. Physiol. 88: 730-737, 2000. 5. Davis, J.M. et al
Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc: Metab. 10: 476-485, 2000. 6. Passe, D.H.
et al. Appetite 35: 219-229, 2000. 7. Wilk, B. and O. Bar-Or. J. Appl.
Physiol. 80:1112-1117, 1996.
The information contained herein is purely a source of information
and can at no time replace the expert eye of a qualified professional.
The content provided in this guide is NOT intended to be relied on for
medical diagnosis or treatment. Never delay in seeking professional
advice because of something read herein.
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