Heat Injuries Can Be Deadly. Here's How to Recognize, Treat and Prevent Them

June 5, 2019

 

Heat injuries are a serious issue, particularly for athletes.

 

Let's look at some key facts:

  1. "There's no excuse for any number of heat stroke deaths, since they are all preventable with the proper precautions." (Ref)

  2. "The most important factor in the treatment of EHS [exertional heat stroke] is the timeliness of rapid cooling, preferably performed on site by whatever means available." (Ref)

  3. Acclimate to the heat over a two-week period. Note: being acclimated does not mean being conditioned (fit for playing sports). Conditioning is a separate process that takes months.

  4. The athlete must be weighed at the beginning and end of each day of training. Greater than a 2% body weight loss is significant, and each pound lost must be replaced by 16-24 ounces of water.

  5. Pay attention to urine color. Deep yellow to brown indicates probable dehydration.

  6. Trouble signs of heat illness include nausea, incoherence, fatigue, weakness, vomiting, cramps, weak rapid pulse, flushed appearance, visual disturbances and unsteadiness.

  7. Create an athlete buddy system to report any suspected heat issues.

  8. An ice bath and ice packs must be field side.

  9. The organization must have a heat plan for revising practices/games based on the use of a Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer (preferred) or the Heat Index.

  10. All stakeholders please be familiar with the National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: 

 

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