You hear it every summer, young athletes collapsing due to heat. With many of these stories having tragic endings, parents, athletic staff, and even politicians are taking notice. In fact, Indiana has passed House Bill 1024, a law which requires heat preparedness training for coaches. Head coaches and assistant coaches who coach interscholastic sports or intramural sports must now complete a certified coaching education course that includes content for prevention of or response to heat-related medical issues that may arise from student athlete training.
Diagnosing and Treating Heat Stroke
Science Daily says heat stroke can occur during rigorous athletic activities, such as marathons or preseason football practice. Symptoms include confusion, irritability, or irrational behavior. In some cases, the athlete may collapse or lose consciousness. These are all signs of central nervous system disturbances. A common myth is that the athlete will stop sweating or have hot skin. However, these symptoms do not always occur in heat stroke.
To treat heat stroke, healthcare professionals advise rapid cooling. The body’s temperature should be below 104.5 °F within 30 minutes of the incident, and the cooling process should end once it drops to about 101.5 °F. To rapidly cool the body, immerse in cold water if possible. If that is not feasible, use ice packs or cool cloths. Move the affected athlete to a cool, shaded area. Blasts of cool air from misting fans and evaporative coolers like the Power Breezer are ideal for fast cooling. Remember to call 911, as heat stroke is a medical emergency.
Heat Safety Training in Athletics
Heat safety training for coaches is vital to ensure heat safety in athletics. Indiana joins states such as Hawaii, New Jersey, and Illinois with a policy for sports practices during hot weather. Timothy Drudge, the president-elect of the Indiana Athletic Trainers Association, said, “This bill will make coaches know what to do … and how to prepare.” And when coaches know how to respond to heat stroke, there’s a 100% survival rate.
Tools to Reduce Heat Impact
Knowing how to treat heat stroke is essential for coaches and athletic directors. Keeping it from occurring in the first place is even better. There are many options available to manage hot temperatures, including cooling fans. However, many of these are bulky, require hose hook-ups, and need frequent maintenance. The Power Breezer offers a unique and effective approach to cooling, removing the challenges of standard fans. This compact, powerful cooling fan quietly cools players and staff without getting them wet. It dramatically helps reduce the risks of heat-related injuries. Best of all, it’s mobile and hard-wearing and can be moved to whatever location you need it most. Learn more about how the Power Breezer can be an essential tool in heat safety for field and sidelines.