The Heat is On
Some of the most well-conditioned athletes have collapsed during training practice and died of heat stroke. To make sure you don't get sick from the heat and humidity while playing sports this summer, here's a look at what causes heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them.
Heat-Related Illnesses - Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are cramps in the leg, arm or stomach that happen during strenuous exercise in extreme heat. They're painful, but don't usually last very long. If you get heat cramps, find a cool, shady place to rest and have something cold to drink.
Heat-Related Illnesses - Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a very serious illness. This happens when you've been out in the heat for awhile and haven't been drinking enough liquids. You'll start to become thirsty, tired and weak. You may also get a headache or feel like you're gonna hurl. If you feel heat exhaustion coming on, get out of the sun right away! Tell your coach or a parent how you feel, and then go rest in a cool area and drink plenty of liquids.
Heat-Related Illnesses - Heat Stroke
This is the most dangerous form of heat sickness because it can kill you! When you get heat stroke, your body can no longer regulate its own temperature. Heat stroke is serious business and must be treated quickly. That's what killed Korey Stringer, the Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle, on August 1, 2001. He'd been training with full pads in extremely hot and humid weather. He puked three times during the practice and collapsed shortly after going to rest in an air-conditioned trailer. Korey was rushed to hospital where doctors cooled him down with ice and gave him fluids through an intravenous. It wasn't enough and Korey died a few hours later.
Heat-Related Illnesses - Beat the Heat
Even professional athletes who are used to working out in extreme conditions can get sick from the heat and humidity. The best way to prevent it is to make sure you're always taking in lots of liquids. Have plenty to drink during breaks in a practice or game. If it's really hot out and you're feeling tired or sick, tell your coach and go rest somewhere cool and shady. Relax and chill out for awhile. You can always get back to the game once your body cools down.