Lets start with the heat and dehydration. Many coaches have learned over the years that starting practice early in the morning helps reduce problems that heat causes. Also many are moving practices to later in the afternoon or evening to avoid the hottest times of the day. Here are some things to look for or do.
Drink Water: You know the saying drink 8 - 10 eight ounce glasses per day. Well student athletes should be drinking more during two a days. Drink about a pint of water about two hours before you start. Continue to drink through your practice with about 6-12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Don't wait till you feel thirsty, this feeling often fails to start until the body is approaching a danger point. Don't drink water that is Ice cold, the water should be cool. As you work your body temperature rises. With this muscles fatigue sooner and your performance can decline as much as 50%. Water is still the best thing to drink. You can also drink products like Gatorade or other like products, but make water the drink of choice for most of your day.
Listen: Listen to your body. As an athlete you know what you can or can't do. You have to be strong enough to listen and tell your coach or trainners you have a problem. Don't be a tough guy! Look for these symptoms. If you feel stressed out, unduly fatigued, lethargic after or during practice, dizzy, headachy or nauseated these are signs. If you have the same feelings the next day tell your parents and - or trainner ASAP.
Weight: With OHSAA rules every athlete should weight themselves before and after practice. This should be charted. For each pound of weight you lost during practice you need to drink a pint of water to replace water lost through sweating.
Cut out: If you like to drink sodas like Mountain Dew or Pepsi-Coke, STOP!! Switch to drinks without caffeine, also avoid fruit juices or non-diet soft drinks. Sugar can aggravate dehydration and cause bloating and cramps. Also even with rules in place that say you can't drink alcohol some do. Alcohol can increase dehydration. While many people today drink large amounts of caffeine products, athletes should cut them out ASAP and not go back to them while in season.
Think: On very hot days the ability to sweat is reduced, and the sweat that is produced cannot evaporate. This is a serious problem. If you find yourself with diarrhea or vomiting this can also change the proper balance of fluids in your body. Today many student athletes are wearing (dew-rags) under helmets. This can also cause problems with not letting your head cool and cause body tempature to rise. Think when it comes to health issues with your body. You know it better than anyone.
While were not doctors we feel a need to stress this area to the student athletes who play high school sports in Ohio. Things have changed over the years and many programs have top-notched trainers on hand during all games and practices. But with budgets in many programs cut, some programs can't afford them. We stress to parents keep an eye on your athlete during the next few weeks. Your child is trying to earn a spot on a team and will fight hard to earn it. Don't wait till its too late and something happens.
If anyone has any other iteams they feel should have been in this article please let us know. As much as we like to cover Ohio High School sports, the last thing we want to see is a student athlete become serious ill or even die.