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7 Things Soccer Coaches Should Do To Help Deal With The Heat

  • Encourage players to drink plenty of water before, during, and after practice. Water makes up to 65 percent of a youth player's body weight, and losing even a small amount of water can cause severe consequences in the body's systems. It doesn't have to be hot and humid for players to become dehydrated, nor is thirst an accurate indicator. Usually by the time players are aware of their thirst they are long overdue for a drink.
  • Monitor weather conditions and adjust training sessions accordingly. Move training to early evening when it cools down.
  • Acclimatize players to exercising in high heat and humidity. Players can adjust to high heat and humidity in 7-10 days. During the period, hold practices at low to moderate levels of activity and give the players fluid breaks every 20 minutes
  • Switch to light, white-colored clothing. Use wicking clothing to help with cooling
  • Identify and monitor players who are prone to heat illness. These include players who are overweight, muscular, out of shape, and who work very hard. Those that have experienced previous heat illness are more prone to getting heat illness as well. Keep an eye on these children and give them drink breaks every 15 minutes. For very young players, such as the U6 group, give even more breaks.
  • Make sure players replace fluids lost through sweat. Encourage players to drink 2-3 hours before practices or games and every 20 minutes during and after practice. Fluids such as water and sports drinks are preferable during games and practices. For younger athletes, it's better to use water instead of sports drinks.
  • Replenish electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are lost through sweat. The best way to replace these nutrients in addition to others such as carbohydrate and protein is by eating a balanced diet. Sports drinks will replenish electrolytes, but avoid sports drinks for younger players.
 AYSO Dehydration Safety
AYSO Severe Weather Play Policy

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion happens when your body gets too hot. If you don’t treat heat exhaustion, it can lead to heatstroke. This occurs when your internal temperature reaches at least 104°F. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. It can cause shock, organ failure, or brain damage. In extreme cases, heatstroke can kill you.

Risk Factors for Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is strongly related to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you feel when the effects of relative humidity and air temperature are combined. A relative humidity of 60% or more hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body's ability to cool itself.

The risk of heat-related illness dramatically increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or more. So it's important -- especially during heat waves -- to pay attention to the reported heat index, and also to remember that the heat index is even higher when you are standing in full sunshine.

Symptoms Of Heat Exhaustion

The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

 

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Heat exhaustion requires immediate attention.

 Treatment For Heat Exhaustion

  • Drink plenty of fluid (avoid caffeine and alcohol).
  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels.

 
Risk Factors for Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is most likely to affect older people who live in apartments or homes lacking air conditioning or good airflow. Other high-risk groups include people of any age who don't drink enough water, have chronic diseases, or who drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

Heat stroke is strongly related to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you feel when the effects of relative humidity and air temperature are combined. A relative humidity of 60% or more hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body's ability to cool itself.

The risk of heat-related illness dramatically increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or more. So it's important -- especially during heat waves -- to pay attention to the reported heat index, and also to remember that exposure to full sunshine can increase the reported heat index by 15 degrees.

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency. If you suspect that someone has heat stroke -- also known as sunstroke -- call 911 immediately and give first aid until paramedics arrive.

Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Although heat stroke mainly affects people over age 50, it also takes a toll on healthy young athletes.

Heat stroke often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), and heat exhaustion. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury.

Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures -- usually in combination with dehydration -- which leads to failure of the body's temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Other common symptoms include nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and sometimes loss of consciousness or coma.

Symptoms For Heat Stroke

Heat stroke symptoms can include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness or vertigo
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures or Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Fatigue
  • Increased body temperature (104 degrees to 106 degrees F)

First Aid for Heat Stroke

If you suspect that someone has a heat stroke, immediately call 911 or transport the person to a hospital. Any delay seeking medical help can be fatal.

While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, initiate first aid. Move the person to an air-conditioned environment -- or at least a cool, shady area -- and remove any unnecessary clothing.

If possible, take the person's core body temperature and initiate first aid to cool it to 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. (If no thermometers are available, don't hesitate to initiate first aid.)

Try these cooling strategies:

  • Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose.
  • Apply ice packs to the patient's armpits, groin, neck, and back. Because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them may reduce body temperature.
  • Immerse the patient in a shower or tub of cool water.
  • If the person is young and heathy and suffered heat stroke while exercising vigorously -- what’s known as exertional heat stroke -- you can use an ice bath to help cool the body.

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