This summer has been espcially hot. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that many areas across the U.S. have been under excessive heat advisories for long periods of the summer with record breaking temperatures. With all of this focus on the heat waves, many are beginning to question how safe it is for young athletes to be starting fall practices in August.

Football is one of the most risky sports to start in August because of the high heat and high humidity, especially in the south. In the past several weeks, two 16-year-old football players from Georgia, one 14-year-old player from South Carolina, and an assitant football coach in Texas have all died with some form of heat related injury. These types of senseless deaths can be prevented.

In a study in the International Journal of Biometeorology using data from the last 29 years, found that there has been an increase of heat-related illnesses and deaths among football players and mostly since the mid 1990's. Most of the cases involved high school football players. The study indicated that working out in helmets and full pads caused the most problems because it interferes with the heat loss mechanism in the body and increases heat production. One interesting point in the study was that most of the deaths occurred during morning practice which have high humidity levels. Working out in the mornings provides athletes with a false sense of security because it is cooler; however, the high humidity makes it just as dangerous when you are working out as hard as they do in training camps.

The body regulates temperature by sweating, and when it is very humid outside, it is increasingly harder for the body to regulate its temperature. This puts you at higher risk for heat stroke. Some of the symptoms include cool, sweaty, moist skin with goosebumps despite the heat, dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting. Confusion and disorentation can also be warning signs. The American Academy of Pediatrics have released new guidelines that state healthy kids can safely participate in outdoor sports as long as they are sufficiently hydrated, have adaptive training, and get frequent rest periods. The guidelines also recommend coaches, trainers, and other adults receive education as to the risks and and warning signs associated with heat stress.

The most important thing is to be very careful and very aware of all players and athletes that are participating in practices. Heat can be a killer, and knowing the warning signs is the best weapon to combat this growing issue. Staying hydrated, as well as acclimating the players to the heat, is the best way to protect them.


If you are in need of a Myrtle Beach SC personal injury attorney, Conway lawyer Dirk Derrick at The Derrick Law Firm has been handling car accidents, personal injury, and wrongful death claims in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Conway SC for over 23 years. Please call 843-248-7486 today.

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