Dehydration is not the source of heat-related injuries for athletes

Dehydration is not the cause of heat-related injuries for athletes.

If an athlete cramps up on the field during a hot summer day, most people would assume they need water. But, according to Jason Garren, athletic trainer for Palo Duro High School, thatâ??s not true.

â??Conditioning, getting prepared for the heat, is the key to avoiding these heat related illnesses,â?? said Garren. â??Itâ??s not just keep drinking water, and a lot of people still think that. They see an athlete that looks tired and worn out and they say, â??Well youâ??re not drinking enough water.â?? Well thatâ??s just not the case.

Things like heat cramps and heat exhaustion require the athlete cooling down and taking a break, not necessarily immediately being given fluids. Trainers also warn against over-drinking, which can lead to other problems. And hydrating will not prevent the body from experiencing heat-related injuries.

â??Dehydration is not the cause of heat exhaustion, thatâ??s just increased body heat. So those athletes need to just relax a little bit and let their body temperature drop. Itâ??s not from water or lack thereofâ?¦itâ??s just muscle fatigue and its just the bodyâ??s way of saying â??Look Iâ??m done for now, I need to relax,â??â?? said Garren.

Head football coach, Steven Parr, explained that the coaches and trainers are educated on the differences between heat-related and dehydration-related injuries every year, and that AISD has been very proactive in putting together measures to protect the student athletes.

â??The main thing we want is you want your kids to be healthy and productive and they canâ??t be productive if they suffer any injures,â?? said Parr.

Another misconception for those young adults battling through two-a-days is that they need certain sports drinks to replace electrolytes in their body. But both Parr and Garren agree that water is the best recommendation.

â??People need to drink when they are thirsty. Thirst is really the only symptom of dehydration. Itâ??s not really cramps. So the best thing they can do is to just drink water when theyâ??re thirsty, to be encouraged to drink water when theyâ??re thirsty,â?? said Garren.