Football players can beat the summer heat by getting ready now

May 6, 2011

Getting acclimated to the heat now, before two-a-days begin in August, will help football players avoid cramps, dehydration and other potentially serious injuries that could put a damper on the upcoming season.

"Spending all summer indoors is not a good idea, even if you are lifting weights and getting stronger," said Dr. David Lintner, an and chief of the Methodist Center for Sports Medicine in Houston. "A big part of the summer conditioning process has to take place outside. Whether it's basketball, running, or working outside, the body needs time to get accustomed to the heat. If players don't get used to the heat, they open themselves up to serious heat illness and, in more serious cases, death."

Since 1995, nearly 40 football players have died due to the heat-related illnesses. According to the American College of , the majority of serious heat illness occurs in the first four days of summer football practice because most players are not acclimated to the heat, not ready for the intensity of the practice, and not used to wearing the uniform and equipment.

The video will load shortly

Symptoms of heat illness include nausea, vomiting, incoherence, fatigue, muscle cramps, weakness and . When the body temperature climbs to 103 or 104, the brain's , the portion responsible for the function of the , can no longer stop the heat. To compensate, the heart beats faster to increase blood flow to the skin. This takes blood from the heart and other muscles. At a temperature of 106, occurs.

"If your first introduction to the heat is when you put on your pads and start hitting, you're not going to have the endurance, the strength or the concentration you need to succeed. Not properly preparing for the heat could set you back three weeks," said Lintner, who is also team physician for the Houston Texans and Houston Astros.

Lintner adds that creatine and other muscle-building substances have been known to cause dehydration, and reduced blood volume and, needless to say, can severely hinder the athlete's ability to handle the heat. It's best to stay away from these types of substances, he said.

"You can get acclimated to the heat by starting off with 20 minutes a day and gradually work up to an hour," Lintner said. "Taking a little time every day will make preparing for the upcoming season much more enjoyable and successful."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Artificial light from digital devices lessens sleep quality

July 28, 2017
There's no doubt we love our digital devices at all hours, including after the sun goes down. Who hasn't snuggled up with a smart phone, tablet or watched their flat screen TV from the comfort of bed? A new study by researchers ...

Study finds walnuts may promote health by changing gut bacteria

July 28, 2017
Research led by Lauri Byerley, PhD, RD, Research Associate Professor of Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has found that walnuts in the diet change the makeup of bacteria in the gut, which suggests ...

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.