AKRON, Ohio — Whether it’s football, soccer, cross country or several other sports, high school athletes need to be careful when the heat index reaches the upper 90s like we have seen this week.
"Certainly, we always worry about an athlete and the heat because of the fact that it's very easy to get dehydrated when it's this hot,” said Dr. Michelle Burke, sports medicine doctor at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Burke says coaches should schedule frequent breaks when it’s very hot while keeping in mind the “wetbulb globe temperature,” which takes into account the wind, sun, humidity and temperature.
“My number one thing is hydration, hydration, hydration, right?” she said.
Burke says athletes should drink about 60 ounces of water a day.
Athletes, coaches and parents need to watch for signs of heat exhaustion.
"You're gonna feel fatigued. You might start to get dizzy. You might start feeling a little light-headed. You can't run quite as fast."
And even more dangerous are the warning signs of heatstroke.
"Might be confused. They might start to act out more, act more aggressive or irritable. They might even pass out," she said.
Burke says practices should not last more than two hours in very hot weather and athletes should find shade during breaks.
"So that's the big thing to worry about when it's multiple days in a row, if you don't get that escape from the heat, it can get worse the next day," Burke said.
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