Exertional heat stroke – Prevention

Every year, several high school and college football players die from exertional heat stroke. We can eliminate most heat stroke events with some basic prevention measures.

Athletes and coaches must exercise caution when practicing in summer months. Players’ bodies must grow accustomed to these conditions. This process, called acclimatization, involves the body “learning” to increase its sweat rate and decrease its electrolyte loss.

Generally, athletes require about 7 to 10 days to acclimatize to hot and humid conditions. This period of time gives the athlete time to safely adjust by increasing physical activity and exposure to the conditions, as well as adding clothing and equipment.

Finally, due to the high risk of heat illness during this period of acclimatization, athletic trainers should be present before, during, and after each practice.

In this video, I discuss this acclimatization process, as well as proper hydration and how and when kids should get in shape to prepare for hot and humid conditions.

In my new book, That’s Gotta Hurt: The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever, I discuss exertional heat stroke and how we can prevent it and treat it if an athlete develops the condition. If you have kids who play football or other sports in hot and humid conditions, you should read it and take steps to keep your kids healthy. Click here to get your copy and get hundreds of dollars of bonus content – FREE!

Also read:
The importance of summer practice adjustments to prevent heat illness
Adjust summer practices to prevent heat illness

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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