Beat the heat

By: Sara Allen

It’s that time of year again. The fall high school sports’ seasons are starting up. Most teams have been practicing for a while, with some beginning as early as the summer. During those practices, it gets hot. South Carolina is not the coolest place in the summers, and this summer the average temperature for Fort Mill was around 88°F. Just because that was the average doesn’t mean that the temperature didn’t soar into the hundreds on multiple occasions.

Practicing in this heat can cause a lot of problems for young athletes. These include: heat stroke, nausea, headaches, seizures, and disorientation. There is also a chance of unconsciousness and comas. Over the years, there have been 31 deaths in the United States due to heat during sports’ practices between 1995 and 2007. These deaths were in high school football alone.

Doctors recommend drinking at least one full water bottle before, during and after a sporting activity. This way, the body will be fully hydrated and continue to be for the time the sport is going on. Stay away from soda or other sugary beverages up to a day, or even longer before playing a sport. These types of drinks contribute to dehydration during an activity.

Staying hydrated during an activity is important, but also remember to wear sunscreen. Skin cancer is becoming more common in teenagers. If you don’t wear sunscreen or reapply it during the activity, you are at a much higher risk of getting sunburned. If you are exposed to the sun long enough without protection, the risk is also higher of contracting sun poisoning.

During the season, don’t forget to stay hydrated and keep the sunscreen on. You may not think you look cool always putting on sunscreen, or drinking a water bottle every time there is a short break, but in the long run it is better for you. Dr. Peter Schulman, a cardiologist with the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, gives this advice to teenage athletes, “It’s important for young athletes to be educated about the warning signs of heart injury. Don’t be macho, be prudent and tell your coach if you’re not feeling well.”

Be sure to hydrate before, during and after practices as well as games to beat the heat. Photo courtesy of Google images


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