American Red Cross
Thursday August 11, 2011 — In the wake of recent student athlete deaths due to excessive heat, the American Red Cross recommends team officials, coaches and parents take steps to help ensure the safety of their players during extreme heat.
“Keeping athletes safe is crucial,” said Dan Samborn CEO Capital Area Chapter. “Make sure athletes stay hydrated. Have everyone drink plenty of fluids like water or sports drinks with electrolytes before, during and after activities. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.”
During the hot weather, team practices should be scheduled for early in the day and later in the evening to avoid exposing players to the hottest times of the day. Other steps teams, schools and parents should take to protect their athletes include:
“Knowing the signs of heat-related emergencies and how to help someone who is suffering from the heat is vital,” Samborn stressed. “Coaches and parents need to be vigilant in watching for signs of heat-related emergencies. Athletes should inform their coaches, teachers or parents if they are not feeling well.”
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat. If someone is experiencing heat cramps:
Heat exhaustion is caused by a combination of exercise induced heat and fluid and electrolyte loss from sweating. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion. To help someone with these symptoms:
Heat stroke (also known as sunstroke) is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself.
Learn how to prevent and respond to heat-related and other emergencies by taking a First Aid/CPR/AED course. Contact Capital Area Chapter at 850-878-6080 or visit redcross.org/training to register.