Fall sports safety: What you should know

soccer boy drinking sports drink

Labor Day and the start of the new school year is right around the corner, but fall high school sports practices are already in full swing.

Be it soccer, football or any other organized sport, excessive heat can present a potential risk to student-athletes getting ready for the regular season.

McLaren Macomb emergency physicians stress being prepared for the heat and vigilant of its effects.

Here are items for parents and athletes to consider before heading out to practice.

Weather advisories:
Heat advisory—Onset of extreme heat (100 degrees and higher) is imminent
Excessive heat warning—Excessive heat for an extended period of time is expected
Excessive heat watch—Conditions for excessive heat are favorable

Drink lots of fluids (while avoiding caffeinated, energy and alcoholic drinks) and at least 20 ounces of water and/or sports drink before any physical activity.

Heat harm prevention:
Find a well-ventilated, shaded area
Cool off in water (swimming pool, shower or bath)
Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
Wear sunscreen

Be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of heat illness in yourself and others:
Weak/Rapid pulse
Dark-colored urine
Headache/Throbbing headache
Muscle cramps
Shallow breathing
Lack of sweat/hot, dry skin

If someone begins exhibiting symptoms of heat illness, find a cool, ventilated area to rest, drink plenty of fluids and apply a wet cloth and/or ice pack to the neck and arm pits. For the most efficient way to cool the body’s core temp, physicians recommend submersing in cold water up to the neck.

If the symptoms are severe or persist, dial 911 and head to the nearest emergency department.