Preparing young athletes for sports camps in the heat

Keep your student athlete healthy this sport season

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - After months of hanging out indoors, it's time for student athletes to get outside and get active.

"Whether it's running, working out, playing flag football, or 7 on 7 football, it's really popular and that helps with their conditioning, but also with their heat acclimation," said Houston Methodist Chief of Sports Medicine Dr. David Lintner.

Dr. Lintner recommends that good nutrition and hydration begin the day before hitting the field.

"If you're trying to hydrate the day of, that 's a little bit late," Dr. Lintner explained. "You'll usually feel too bloated and not be able to run quite as well as you want. So the day before drinking a lot of liquid, eating a lot of fruit because fruit has such a high water content."

Mandatory water breaks with individual water bottles can go a long way in preventing heat related illnesses.

"If they're using a communal water jug, those are economical and valuable in that respect; but, it's harder to monitor how much each kid is really drinking," added Dr. Lintner.

Coaches and trainers are invaluable assets when it comes to keeping an eye on kids to make sure they're not getting overheated.

"If symptoms are progressing especially mental status changes, they need to go (seek medical attention)," Dr. Lintner said. "If their blood pressure goes down, they need to go. If their heart rate goes up and stays up even after they've had a chance to cool down, that's a sign that they need to go (to the emergency room)."

Another idea suggested by Dr. Lintner is to taking off football helmets between drills.

He admits coaches may not be to crazy about that idea, but you can dissipate a lot of heat just by removing your helmet.

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