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Heat Illness

Environmental Considerations

Environmental stress can adversely affect performance and in some instances pose a serious health threat.

The environmental categories that are of major concern to coaches, student-athletes, and parents, especially those involved in outdoor sports, include but are not limited to hyperthermia, hypothermia, altitude, exposure to sun and lightning storms.

Coaches Education (Free Heat Illness Prevention Course)

All Bismarck Public School District coaches are required to complete the free A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention course on the National Federation of State High School Activities website.

Click HERE for step by step directions (pdf) on how to register and complete the free NFHS Learn Heat Illness Prevention course.

Click HERE to complete the free NFHS Learn A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention course.

Exertional Heat Stroke is the leading cause of preventable death in high school athletics. Exertional Heat Stroke also results in thousands of emergency room visits and hospitalizations throughout the nation each year. This free course is designed to give you the critical information you need to minimize the risk of Exertional Heat Stroke among your athletes.

COACHES: Once the Heat Illness Prevention course is completed, please email a copy of your certificate of completion to Blaine Steiner, Bismarck Public Schools Certified Athletic Trainer. A certificate from each individual coach is required, this MAY NOT be done as a group activity and one certificate submitted for the group as proof of completion.


Here is some great information in PDF format regarding Heat Illness Prevention. The material can printed and posted in your locker room area. Click on title to view document.

Performance Playbook - Heat Illness Prevention Tips

GSSI - Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses

Gatorade Heat Safety Package

Beat the Heat - 2014 Heat Safety Kit

OSHA•NIOSH Info Sheet - Protecting Workers from Heat Illness

CDC - Extreme Heat Media Toolkit

Keep Athletes Safe in Hot Weather - the Center for Disease Control (CDC) encourages coaches, athletes, and those exercising outside in hot weather to know the warning signs for heat-related illness and take action when needed. To learn more about preventing heat-related illness, order materials, download a toolkit to educate readers about warning signs, and to take CDC's accredited web-based course for coaches. CLICK HERE for more information.

Fluid Pyramid
Hot Tips

You know the more active you are the more you sweat, and the more fluids your body loses. But here's a handy guide that shows how much you need to drink to replace what you lose and not become dehydrated.

1. Drink up when it's hot.

In extreme heat, you lose more fluid from sweat, so you need to drink more.

2. Don't just pour water over your head.

It may feel great, but it won't help at all at restoring body fluids or lowering body temperature. Fluid has to go in the body.

3. Select properly formulated sports drinks.....

containing carbohydrate and sodium to rapidly replace fluids. Sodium has been scientifically proven to encourage voluntary drinking and promote rehydration.

4. Do not change into a dry shirt.....

at breaks or time-outs while active. Completely soaked shirts do better at cooling the body.

5. Wear light-colored, light-weight porous clothing to keep you cool.

6. Drink before, during and after activity.

Try to drink 16 ounces before exercise, at least 4-8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise and 24 ounces after being active. Use the Fluid Pyramid as your guide. Equate 1 ounce to one gulp.

You can get dehydrated just being outside when it's hot - even if you aren't very active. So, if you attend summer sporting events, festivals, etc., make sure you find a cool, shady spot and drink the right beverage - often.

The tips listed above are courtesy of Dr. Bob Murray. Dr. Murphy is the Director and Principal Scientist at the Gatorade Exercise Physiology Lab at the Gatorade Sport Science Institute in Barrington, IL.

Signs of Dehydration

• Headache
• Confusion
• Dry mouth
• The eyes stop making tears
• Sweating may stop, increase in body temperature
• Muscle cramps
• Nausea and vomiting
• Heart palpitations
• Lightheadedness (especially when standing)
• Weakness
• Dark yellow color urine
• Decreased urine output

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Cramps

• Muscle twitching
• Muscle cramps
• Sweating

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

• Sweating profusely
• Weak and rapid pulse
• Cool and clammy skin (pale)
• Excessive thirst
• Dry tongue and mouth
• Fatigue (weakness)
• Shallow respiration's
• Elevated core body temp (98.6 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit)

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke (Medical Emergency)

• Absence of sweating
• Increase in pulse (strong and rapid)
• Hot and dry skin (flush skin color)
• Sensation of burning up inside
• Dizziness (mental confusion)
• Abrupt onset of headache, fatigue
• Labored respiration's
• Elevated core body temp. (105 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit)

Those supervising athletes should be able to recognize these basic signs and symptoms of dehydration. A conscious, cognizant, dehydrated athlete without gastrointestinal distress can aggressively rehydrate orally, while one with mental compromise from dehydration or gastrointestinal distress should be transported to a medical facility (activating EMS 911).

One of the most important things a coach can do is to educate his/her athletes about the signs and symptoms of dehydration and the proper steps to take.

Minimize Risk of Dehydration and Heat Illness

Click Here for a copy of the position statement and recommendations for hydration to minimize the risk of dehydration and heat illness posted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC).

Heat Index Information

Click Here for Heat Index chart and information.

The Korey Stringer Institute - University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education

CLICK HERE to read The Korey Stringer Institute's Top 10 tips to Stay Safe When Exercising in the Crazy Heat

CLICK HERE to go to The Korey Stringer Institute website

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