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Heat-Related Sports Injuries: When Athletes Are At Greatest Risk

Football season for high school and college students typically starts in September, one of the hottest months of the year around the US. A recent study conducted at the University of Georgia found that the likelihood of heat-related injury in athletes increased exponentially during this time of year. 

2 Times When the Risk of Sports Injuries Are the Highest

According to the study, researchers found that there were two times during training when athletes were at the highest risk for injuries.
 •  Within the first 3 to 14 days of practice, but the rate was much higher during the first three days
 •  On days seven and eight of pre-season training when athletes began practicing twice each day. 

Seventy-four percent of the college athletes evaluated suffered from heat cramps, while 26 percent suffered from a combination of heat syncope (fainting) and heat exhaustion. The highest risk came when outdoor temperatures were greater than 82 degrees. 

Common Symptoms of Heat-Related Sports Injuries

Coaches, trainers, parents and athletes should all be on the lookout for injuries related to higher temperatures. Symptoms include: 
 •  Heat Cramps: Involuntary spasms within the larger muscle groups. 
 •  Heat Exhaustion: Heat cramps, copious sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache and weakness. 
 •  Heat Stroke: Headache, rapid heart rate and breathing, nausea, vomiting, and altered behavior or mental state. 

Chiropractors: Helping Prevent Heat-Related Injury in Athletes

Chiropractors, as well as sports trainers, play an important role in preventing sports injuries during the summer training period. They can educate athletes on the importance of adequate hydration and rest. Additionally, they can demonstrate relaxation and flexibility techniques that can be used to relieve muscle spasms. When athletes and their sports medicine team, including chiropractors, work together they can prevent injuries and have a productive and healthy football season.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Journal of Athletic Training, online August 9, 2016.