We’ve had a consistently hot summer in Nebraska with temperatures well over 100 degrees on most days. There was lots of talk about whether two-a-days was going to be safe. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) position statement on heat illness, “Exertional Heatstroke (EHS) is the leading cause of preventable death in high school athletics.” My personal thoughts were that athletes were probably better acclimated than usual and it would be a non-issue as long as we stayed diligent. For the most part, that rang true. Even though heat illness received more attention than normal in the media, thankfully there were few issues in our state.
Yet, a few Fridays ago at the first cool, fall evening game I had more student-athletes cramp than usual. What in the world!?
I think when temperatures cool down we tend to forget to continue encouraging student-athletes to stay hydrated. Because the weather is not as hot, they naturally tend to be less thirsty. School has started and most teenagers don’t plan ahead for fluids throughout the day. Combine that with practices that have settled into routines and are a smidge less demanding and the result of the equation equals kids who are just not as focused on hydration as they are during the hot time of year.
Thankfully it’s now easier than ever to carry things in my kit that can aid in treating a cramped athlete. The old days of having Gatorade powder all of over my kit from a film case that came open have been replaced by the single serve G2 packets and Clif Shot Bloks I keep instead, but continuing to encourage student athletes to stay focused on hydration seems to be a much better plan of attack!
Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC