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Young Athletes are at Risk for Sports-Related Injuries Heat Stroke is a Leading Cause of Sudden Death in Sports

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Young Athletes are at Risk for Sports-Related Injuries Heat Stroke is a Leading Cause of Sudden Death in Sports

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August 21, 2012

(Moses Lake, WA) With many young school athletes working hard this month to prepare for fall sports, Safe Kids Grant County is encouraging parents and coaches to keep children safe on and off the field by preventing sports injuries, including heat-related illnesses. About 3.5 million children receive medical treatment for a sports-related injury each year, and as many as half of these injuries are preventable according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With scorching high temperatures and vigorous practice sessions underway for school age children, parents and coaches have an even greater role to play in keeping children safe and injury free,” said Maria Vargas, Safe Kids Grant County Coordinator. “It’s important to set realistic expectations for children about sports and understand how to help them prepare properly, prevent injuries, and play safely.”

The summer heat has brought particular attention to the dangers of heat stroke, one of the leading causes of sudden death in sports. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the number of heat-related injuries from 1997 to 2006 increased 133 percent. Youth accounted for the largest proportion of heat-related injuries, 47.6 percent. “One of the most powerful protective steps in assuring that athletes stay hydrated is proper time and access to fluids during physical activity,” said Maria Vargas “Coaches and parents supervising youth activities in the intense heat must have policies or guidelines in place so that youth athletes can stay cool and properly hydrated during practices and events.”

Safe Kids offers these important tips for coaches, parents, and league organizers to prevent heat illness and dehydration:

  • Don’t wait for kids to tell you they are thirsty. Take regular water breaks (every 15-20 minutes) will help avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
  • We want our young athletes to drink water at least 30 minutes before play and every 15-20 minutes during play.
  • For fluid intake during physical activity, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends:
  • 5 oz. for an 88-pound child every 20 minutes
  • 9 oz. for a 132-pound adolescent every 20 minutes
  • A child’s gulp equals a ½ ounce of fluid so generally, your child should drink about 10 gulps for every 20 minutes of play.
  • Use urine color as a guide for hydration status:
  • Light like lemonade then the child is likely hydrated
  • Dark like apple juice then he/she is likely dehydrated

For more information on sports injury prevention information, please call Safe Kids Grant County at the Grant County Health District 509-766-7960 or visit www.safekids.org/sports

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