All over the country, student-athletes are not only heading back to the classroom but also to the field. These may be fall sports, but it’s still summer out there with high temperatures. Heat is a major factor in keeping athletes safe. If kids are going to be practicing, heat safety must be a serious consideration.

Physical Activity and Heat Increase Heat Stroke Risks

Physical activity already increases core temperatures. The body produces up to 20 times more energy at maximum exertion versus rest, inhibiting its ability to cool itself. Precautions have to be taken in situations of extreme activity paired with heat. The best way to offer this protection is with a proactive approach. Heat illness can quickly go from initial queasiness to a full-blown heat stroke. Keep athletes safe on the field and inside gyms by understanding the risk of heat illness.


Getting plenty to drink is a great mitigator of heat illness. Athletes should arrive to practice well hydrated. Then during stretching, hydrate some more. Once practice begins, coaches should call breaks every 30 to 45 minutes for a refuel. Coaches should reiterate the importance of hydrating and make sure that athletes heed the warming.

Heat Index

The temperature doesn’t always tell the whole story about how hot it is. Humidity can add several more degrees with the weatherman giving actual and “feels like” temperature readings. A good rule of thumb for outside activity is to calculate the relative humidity and the temperature. If it’s greater than 160, precautions should be taken. At a sum of over 180, practices should not be held.

Warning Signs

Coaches, parents, and players should understand the warning signs of heat stroke. It’s important that all the parties learn when it’s time to take refuge in a cool, shaded area. The initial signs include fatigue and lethargy. This may quickly go to inattention and a stupor. Any time a player is exhibiting these signs, activity needs to stop, and treatment needs to begin. How to take action, click here.

Alternative Cooling Options

While traditional fans are still used to counter the effects of heat, they aren’t always helpful, as they just blow hot air. Using a mobile cooling unit like the Power Breezer is a much different experience. The Power Breezer doesn’t require a hose hook-up and operates quietly, delivering maximum cooling through evaporating mist where it is needed most. This easy way to cool can dramatically reduce the temperature of young athletes.

Heat injury is a threat that can be mitigated. It’s easy to monitor the temperature and know when to postpone or cancel practice. Even on days that don’t seem too hot, humidity can elevate the temperature fast. This football season and always, protect our student athletes. Let’s play it safe and give heat safety the priority it deserves.

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