- For Coaches
Heat Illness represents conditions resulting from heat stress, which can be imposed by several factors but usually result from the environment or the body creating this heat load itself.
Four most common heat illnesses:
A fainting episode that someone can experience in high environmental temperatures. Usually happens during the initial days of heat exposure. Occurs when an individual in a hot environment does not have adequate blood flow to the brain, causing the person to lose consciousness.
Heat cramps are painful, involuntary cramping often in the legs, arms or abdomen. Often caused by dehydration and sodium loss. Cramping usually occurs in the preseason conditioning phase when the body is not properly conditioned and more subject to fatigue.
The most common heat-related condition observed in active populations including athletes. It is the inability to continue exercise in the heat due to lack of blood being pumped to the heart. Energy depletion that may or may not be associated with physical collapse.
• Move the individual to a cool/shaded area and remove excess clothing and equipment.
• Elevate legs to promote venous return.
• Cool the individual with fans, rotating ice towels or ice bags.
• Provide oral fluids for rehydration
Exertional Heat Stroke is a medical emergency requiring immediate intervention! Exertional heat stroke occurs when the body reaches temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit and there is obvious central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction. CNS dysfunction can include any of the following: dizziness, collapse, confusion, irrational behavior, hysteria, aggressiveness, combativeness, disorientation, seizures and coma.
Hydration needs are individualistic, so athletes should be
aware of their own hydration requirements.
Follow USA Football’s practice guidelines for time and frequency based on the age of the athlete you are coaching.
Game-types using equipment; follow USA Football’s acclimatization chart for gradually introducing equipment and drills.
Remind your athletes (and their parents) to have the athlete properly hydrated before, during and after practice.
Gradually increase the intensity of practice over the course of a few days.
Do not hesitate to modify practices as needed.
Have cooling methods available during practice (ice towels, ice tubs).
Take breaks frequently to avoid your athlete’s bodies from overheating.
Never practice more than once per day.
Make sure to monitor for signs of heat illness.