Young athletes and heat

Headline Goes Here

Summer sports are in full swing for kids this season. The exercise they get on the court or on field is certainly good for their health. But, playing in the heat can be dangerous.

The most wanted item on this baseball field isn't a home run ball. It's a bottle of water.

"Take a quick drink," said Coach Todd Greguson.

Greguson knows that he's got to keep his players cool when the heat and humidity are high.

"Keep them hydrated. Lots of fluids throughout the course of the game," he said.

Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Specialist Chad Eickoff says water is key to avoiding heat exhaustion or worse yet, heat stroke.  And it's important to drink water long before players step on the field.

"The day before, the morning before practice begins. And make sure you're hydrating throughout the day," he said.

During exercise drink eight ounces every 20 minutes. Especially for players who were a lot of gear. Football players are at particular risk.  Now, in addition to hydration, players should get acclimated to the heat slowly over a period of up to two weeks.

"Incremental steps. The first day you don't want to do three hours in the heat. You want to do maybe an hour," said Eickoff.

The symptoms of heat related illness to watch for include: leg cramps, stomach ache, headache, dizziness.  If this happens get the player out of the heat and give him water. And if a player stops sweating, has clammy skin, is disoriented get him out of the heat, give him water and call 911. 

"Prevention is key," said Eickoff. "Be aware of what's happening with the weather and plan ahead so you're ready for the heat."

Eickoff says heat can affect your performance, especially if you don't have enough water. So be sure to be properly hydrated.     

For more information on young athletes and staying safe in the heat , you can go to or you can call the Mayo Clinic here in Jacksonville at  904-953-2272.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.