Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Heat and Hydration Guidelines for Summer Soccer
by Dev Mishra, June 18th, 2009 3:45PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.

Summer camps and tournaments in most parts of the country will be played in hot, humid conditions. With the weather change, athletes are at higher risk for heat-related illness. What I would like to do below is to present a common sense guide to a preventable problem: heat-related illnesses, including dehydration, cramping, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

In general, young athletes are at higher risk for developing heat illness than adults. Children absorb heat faster than adults, they don't sweat as much (sweat helps the body cool), and often they don't "want" to drink fluids during exercise. These factors add up to a higher risk of heat illness than many adults. Fortunately there are a number of simple steps that can greatly reduce the risk of problems when playing in the heat.

On-Field Signs of Dehydration and Heat Illness

Most young athletes will first start to show signs of heat-related illness through dehydration. If left untreated, dehydration can progress to more severe problems such as muscle cramping, heat exhaustion, and a very severe problem called "heat stroke." Rather than providing you a medical textbook definition of heat illness, here are some signs of dehydration to look for in your players:

* Decreased performance
* Fatigue
* Weakness
* Irritability
* Nausea
* Headache
* Light-headedness
* Difficulty paying attention or following directions

As a parent or coach, chances are good that you know what your players' personality is from many day-to-day interactions. Sometimes it simply comes down to realizing that you're playing in hot weather, and the player "just doesn't look right." If that's the case, one of your first thoughts should be that the player is dehydrated. At that point, take some simple steps to treat the problem:

* Get the player off the field and let them rest in a cool, shaded place.
* Provide a sports drink (not carbonated, no caffeine).
* If the player doesn't start to feel better relatively soon (15-30 minutes), seek medical help.
* Prevent future dehydration (see below).

Preventing Dehydration and Heat Illness

There are a number of steps that can reduce the chances of heat illness developing.

Acclimatization can make a big difference in improving an athlete's ability to compete safely and successfully in hot weather. If your team shuts down at the end of June, but plans to play a tournament the second week in August, consider a mini-camp of about an hour a day for the week prior to the tournament.

During practice and games, wear light-colored and lightweight materials. If there isn't adequate shade from trees, consider a pop-up tent for the players (and the parents!). Tournament directors and referees should consider relaxing their rules based upon weather conditions, such as allowing for a brief water break during each half, and perhaps also adding a few minutes to each halftime.

Here are some tips on what to drink, when to drink, and how much to drink to promote good hydration:

* Sports drinks are an excellent choice for hydration. Athletes can usually find a flavor they like, and the electrolytes (like sodium chloride) will stimulate thirst, help the body hold onto fluid, reduce the chance of cramping, and possibly improve performance.
* Avoid any drinks with caffeine or high fructose corn syrup, and no carbonated sodas.
* I like low-fat chocolate milk as another after-game alternative.
* The athlete should have 12-16 ounces of fluid up until about 30 minutes before the game or practice (remember that most sports drinks come in 20-ounce bottles).
* Keep sipping sports drinks or water during the practice or match.
* Start re-hydrating within 20 minutes of the conclusion of the match.

Research shows that the first 20 minutes are the most efficient time to start refueling. Try to take in 20 ounces; no need to guzzle this down, but once you start drinking try to finish the bottle over the next several minutes.

Following these simple guidelines will give your players a much better chance for safe and successful competition this summer.

(Dev K. Mishra is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice, Burlingame, California. He is a Team Physician at the University of California, Berkeley, and member of the team physician pool with the U.S. Soccer Federation. Mishra's website is www.thesoccerdoc.com .)

 



0 comments
  1. James Madison
    commented on: June 21, 2009 at 10:30 p.m.
    Dev's recommendation that players be hydrated before a match is excellent. Exercising adults will, as I understand it, lose about a liter an hour. U19s and even some U16s physically are essentially adults. U14s and below do not lose as much. The rate of loss should be the measure of rehydation at halftime. Gatorade cut in half with water is an excellent source. The taste is maintained, but the sugar (and the cost) is minimized. After a match, in addition to being rehydrated, players need, as Dev writes, to be refueled, i.e., carbs, and soon. Low fat should be taken to mean 1% fat cholocate milk, not 2%. Bananas are also good. Jim Madison

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Tips for attending a college ID camp    
With summer being a popular time for young players to attend College ID camps, we've asked ...
Gottschee and FC Dallas take No. 1 seeds into Development Academy playoffs    
FC Dallas and BW Gottschee of Queens, New York, are the No. 1 seeds in the ...
Teen stars sign with MLS clubs    
In the wake of Atlanta United, set to begin MLS play in 2017, signing 15-year-old Andrew ...
How refs deal with trash-talking    
"Look at the scoreboard" and "You got nothing" are two common things that trash-talking players say.
Does American soccer really only work for white kids?    
Les Carpenter's article for the London-based Guardian on American youth soccer is headlined: "'It's only working ...
Changing the Canvas: Finding Inspiration Outside of our Beautiful Game    
My wife is a developmental psychologist. For two decades she has been studying children and the ...
'Toughest World Cup yet' awaits U.S. U-17 girls    
The USA will face Paraguay, Ghana and defending champion Japan in the first round of 2016 ...
John Hackworth: India experience provides valuable lessons for U.S. U-17 boys    
In its third international tournament of the year, the U.S. U-17 boys national team finished runner-up ...
Adding to the alphabet soup of American youth soccer    
If your children play soccer in the USA, they may be playing under the umbrella of ...
Insights on European scouting of U.S. youngsters by 'Arsenal Yankee' Danny Karbassiyoon    
Daniel Karbassiyoon jokes that Arsenal kept him from going to college twice. The first time, at ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives