Hydration tips for young athletes practicing in the heat - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hydration tips for young athletes practicing in the heat

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Iced towels, sports drinks, and water should be considered part of the game when young athletes are practicing or playing in the heat.

Dr. White is a pediatrician and a coach.  He preaches proper hydration to his patients and his players on the Bluegrass Elite Lacrosse Team.

Dr. David White advises, "Even a well-hydrated athlete can succumb to heat-related illness, and that needs to be back of the mind of every coach, player and parent."


"Everybody starts the morning with a big glass of water. It's all about how much water you can get in," White says. "You're dehydrated after sleeping all night long, so everybody should start with 16-18-20 ounces of water first thing in the morning, and they should be consuming water throughout the day."

White recommends an athlete take in 16-20 ounces of sports drink on the way to an event and during the event.  He says sports drinks are absorbed much faster than water.

"I usually recommend watering it down about 50 percent of the recommended mixture and adding a little salt," White says. "That's what we do for the team."

People usually remember to hydrate during an event, but you have to keep hydrating afterward. And, for that, Dr. White recommends a glass of chocolate milk.

Then, it's back to water again. Dr. White also recommends athletes weigh themselves before and after practice and try to hydrate back to their pre-workout weight before the next practice or event.

"What I have found is that if you give them something quantifiable and (an) amount to drink and a time or you can't go to practice it gets done more often than not," says White.

Just as important, coaches must be aware of the signs of heat-related illness and know what to do when those signs are present.  The early signs are subtle--players look extremely tired. That can progress to headaches, nausea, and dizziness which should be taken seriously.

"Immediately, off come the pads, off comes clothing," says White.  "Cool water on them, in the shade, inside if that's a possibility."

If a player faints or vomits, it should be assumed he is headed toward heat stroke which is a medical emergency, and 911 should be called while the player's body is cooled.

White adds, "What I would urge coaches to do is watch their players carefully.  Watch for the subtle signs early on.  And, I've been there, as seemingly good as it is to push through these things and make them tougher, you risk serious illness if you push on in those 100-degree, 100 heat index days."

Altered practice schedules, playing without heavy equipment, or just skipping practice on an oppressive day are all measures that keep players safe.

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