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Smarten Up... Why Athletes Shouldn't Just Tough It Out

by Dr. Michael Glassman, DPT

In recent years there have been growing concerns for football players staying safe on the field, and many people brush it off saying this generation just needs to toughen up. Maybe that’s true, or maybe we just haven’t been focusing on the facts.

Between 1997 and 2005, the number of heat-related sports injuries increased by 133%. Between 2005 and 2009 alone, there were more heatstroke deaths than any other five-year period! These numbers may look scary, but you don't have to be as concerned when you educate yourself and learn the warning signs of heatstroke. More importantly, heatstroke is preventable when you take action to assure your players are staying hydrated and staying safe on the field.

Try these modifications that every football player should follow during hot/humid weather.

Change practice to the coolest part of the day.  Lag time from the sun causes the hottest part of the day to peak around 3:00 pm, and taper down for the next few hours. With this being said, practices should start no earlier than 5:00 pm, when the temperature has cooled.

Frequent Rest Breaks and Modifying the Amount of Equipment Worn Based on the Environment. Wearing all your gear during