- When a body loses too much water and salt through sweat, muscles tend to cramp (particularly in the abdomen and legs). Players suffering from these painful “heat cramps” should:
- Rest in a shady spot.
- Sip one glass of cool water every 15 minutes until the pain relents.
- If the player’s parents are on hand, have them help by:
- Massaging the affected muscles.
- Applying cool, wet cloths to help relax the muscles.
- Have the player lie down in a shady spot and elevate his or her feet.
- Remove the child’s shoes, shin guards, and socks.
- Apply cold packs to the armpit and scalp areas.
- Have the player drink water or an electrolyte solution.
- Dampen the player’s skin with cool cloths.
- Fan the player to help evaporate excess sweat.
- If the player’s parents are on hand, have them:
- Remove the player’s shirt.
- Apply cold packs to the groin area.
- Call 911 immediately.
- Follow the recommended treatment for heat exhaustion.
- DO NOT attempt to give any liquids.
- Contact the player’s parents.
- Dry lips and tongue.
- Sunken eyes.
- Dizziness or a loss of energy.
- Recognizing the threat
- Apply the 30-30 ruleWhen you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is 30 seconds or less, seek proper shelter. If you can’t see the lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back-up rule. Wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving shelter.
- Know and heed warning systems and community rules Many communities or park systems have lightning detection and warning systems. Use this information and obey the rules established by the community or park system.
- Know and apply the rules or procedures established by the competition authority.
- Minimize the risk of being struck.Protect the safety of all participants by stopping game activities quickly, so that participants and spectators may retire to a safer place before the lightning threat becomes significant. Remember, if you can hear the thunder, you are within reach of lightning.
- Seeking proper shelter
- No place outside is safe near thunderstorms
- The best shelter is a large, fully enclosed, substantially constructed building. A vehicle with a solid metal roof and metal sides is a reasonable second choice.
- If there is no proper shelter, avoid the most dangerous locations: Higher elevations; wide open areas, including fields; tall isolated objects, such as trees, poles, or light posts; unprotected open buildings; rain shelters; bus stops; metal fences and metal bleachers.
Heat and Hydration
Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all serious (in some cases fatal) heat-induced conditions. It is imperative for the safety of your players and volunteers that you and your coaches know how to identify and treat them.
Players with cool, moist, or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, or muscle cramps may be experiencing heat exhaustion. This condition occurs when, because of high humidity or restrictive clothing, sweat is not properly evaporated and the body cannot cool down. To assist a player experiencing heat exhaustion
When a body completely loses the ability to cool itself, the internal temperature continues to rise resulting in heat stroke. If a player’s temperature rises too quickly, brain damage and/or death may result. Players suffering from heat stroke may have hot, dry skin — those with fair complexions may appear red, while darker-skinned individuals may appear gray. Victims may also experience a very rapid pulse and extremely high body temperature. In some cases, victims of heat stroke may seem confused, unresponsive, or even suffer from seizures. Recovery from heatstroke depends on the amount of time it takes to return the body temperature to normal, so immediate medical attention is imperative.
If you suspect that a player is suffering from heat stroke
Professional soccer players lose seven and a half pounds of sweat during a game. In order to avoid serious heat-induced conditions, players must drink enough fluids to replace that sweat. Every player should carry his or her own sports bottle to practice, and coaches need to stop for drink breaks every 15 minutes during the summer. Symptoms of dehydration may include
In addition to staying hydrated, wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in light colors will help keep the body cool. Coaches must remember to conduct shorter, easier practices in the summer.