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From the National Athletic Trainers' Association

Keeping Young Athletes Hydrated Critical to Preventing Heat Illnesses

Kids need to consumer more fluids, more often during hot summer weather

Experts says youth athletes need to drink more fluids and more often to avoid heat illness during the hot weather of summer.
Young African-American football player drinking sports drink

"To stay active and healthy, young athletes need plenty of the right kinds of fluids," said Marjorie J. Albohm, MS, ATC,  president of the National Athletic Trainer's Association. "Staying hydrated is extremely important because water is what delivers oxygen to the muscles, providing fuel for grueling summer workouts."

"Whenever young people are outside playing or practicing in the heat, they need lots of fluids to replace what their bodies are losing through sweating," said leading heat illness researcher and professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut, Doug Casa, PhD, ATC, FNATA, FACSM. "If the body isn't replenished, dehydration can occur and increase the risk of a serious heat illness like heat stroke."

Symptoms of heat illness

Casa, Albohm and other sports experts warn coaches, trainers, parents and athletes to diligently monitor their conditions, being especially mindful of the symptoms of heat illness:

  • Chills
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Thirst
  • Weakness.

Those young people attending sports camps for sports like football, baseball and soccer  are particularly vulnerable to suffering some form of heat illness.

Casa recommends that young people drink at least eight ounces of fluids - such as water, juice, or sports drinks like Gatorade- before beginning outdoor activities, and up to five ounces more every 20 minutes during the activity.

Source:  STOP Sports Injuries Campaign

Created July 28, 2010; updated June 30, 2011