As kids start conditioning for the beginning of fall sports (football especially) there's a potentially deadly mix of out-of-shape kids and hot weather. It's up to the coaches to stay on top of the health and welfare of their athletes.
About this time last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics put its seal of approval on hot weather training. Essentially the organization feels the benefits of physical fitness outweigh the risks of heat illness. Of course, that comes with a caveat: don't be stupid about it.
These are some of the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (I'm paraphrasing a little here):
- Provide training for coaches, trainers and other adults (parents).
- Ensure trained staff are available. (This means having medical staff at practices as well as games.)
- Educate children about heat illness.
- Let kids adapt gradually to the heat.
- Give athletes plenty of time to drink fluids.
- Cancel practices and games when it gets crazy hot (there is a limit).
- Take at least 2 hours break between games.
- Take it easy on kids with a history of heat illness or risk factors for heat illness.
- Make an emergency plan.
Kids want to play. Left to themselves, they'll quit when it's too hot. On the other hand, they want to please their coaches. Don't let them die trying.