Part 4: Is Your Child Safe? Heat Injuries

"Nearly all of the causes of death in sport are influenced by the care [provided] in the first five to seven minutes." (Ref)

Heat Injuries

"We don't cancel practice because of the heat." Football Coach

"What's your policy on players practicing when it's extremely hot in the summer? Well, we have no policy on that...." Deputy Director Arkansas Activities Association which oversees all high school activities in the state.

Two high school football players were practicing the same day in the summer of 2010. It was one of the hottest summers on record in Arkansas. Despite the heat, high school football teams across the state were practicing. On Friday the 13th of August, the heat index in Little Rock was 112°.

Both suffered heat stroke on that day. Both were taken to the same hospital that day. They were the same build, same age, same height, and played the same sport.

What happened? One died. "Unfortunately there was more that a trained person could have done."

What was the difference? One team had a properly trained person (ATC) at all games and practices.

"We used to have the aid of a trainer, but we don't do that anymore. There's really not money there. It's not state mandated and a lot of schools just can't afford it. It's just another position that's got to come out of a tight budget already." Coach of boy that died.

Watch here. 2:00 - 4:00 and skip to 37:45 - 45:02

Heat Injury Action Plan

Call 9-1-1 if you see:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Confusion

  • Headache

  • Nausea/vomiting

  • Rapid Breathing

  • Increased heart rate

  • Seizure

If no serious head or neck injury is suspected, move player into air-conditioning or shade.

Place player in ice bath or use ice packs on head, back of neck, armpits, and groin.

Stay with player until ambulance arrives.

Heat Injury Prevention Plan

  • Water breaks lasting 5-10 minutes every 30-40 minutes.

  • Have an ice bath and/or ice bags available at every practice and competition.

  • Provide shaded area and access to air-conditioning if available. A pop-up tent or canopy is strongly recommended.

  • Record weight before and after practice. This can also be done first thing in the morning and before bed.

  • A significant injury risk factor is a weight loss > 3% of total body weight.

  • Sipping 16 oz to 24 oz fluid per pound lost will rehydrate you. Gulping down a large amount of fluid in one sitting will not.

TeamSafe™ Youth Sports Safety Certification Course

Part 1: On Site Preparedness

Part 2: Concussions

Part 3: Sudden Cardiac Death

Part 5: League Sports

Part 6: A Solution

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