Coach's Corner: Tim Crone 8/12

Tim Crone

By Tim Crone former Blue Springs Activities Director
Posted: August 12, 2011 - 11:34 AM

Each year for the past 10 I have addressed the issue of heat related illness at this time of year. Fall high school sports season is here and it is time for all related parties to understand the importance of minimizing the risk for dehydration and heat illness.


I take a very personal interest in this particular topic because I have had first-hand experience with two heat related illnesses in my life. The first was as a high school football player and the second was playing golf in Palm Springs when I was age 57. Both situations were very serious and it took a few weeks to recover.


It is important as a high school athlete, band member, or involved in any other activity that practices during the extreme heat that August produces to prepare weeks before that practice begins. Appropriate hydration before, during and after exercise is a key ingredient to healthy and successful August participation.


There are two standards used to determine heat danger. The first is a relative humidity of 35 percent or more and a temperature of 95 degrees or higher are likely to cause heat illness with heat stroke likely. The second is a relative humidity of 70 percent or more and a temperature of 95 degrees or more are VERY likely to cause heat illness with a heat stroke VERY likely.


The Missouri State High School Activities Association has two basic recommendations relating to heat:

1. If the heat index is between 95 and 105 degrees, practices and game conditions should be altered.

2. If the heat index is over 105 degrees a practice or contest should be postponed or rescheduled.


Young people are far less prepared for heat conditions now than 10 years ago because most are staying in during the heat and entertaining themselves with electronic games rather than participating in outdoor activities.


Heat acclimatization and fitness levels can greatly affect the body’s ability to hydrate. Rapid weight loss represents a loss of body water. A loss of just 1-2 percent off body weight can negatively impact performance. A loss of 3 percent or more of body weight can increase the risk of heat-related illness due during exertion.


Athletes should be weighed before and after warm weather practice sessions and contests to assess fluid loss. Dark, bulky or rubber protective equipment can drastically increase the chance of dehydration and heat illness. Fluid replacement is a must. Water, Gatorade, 10K, Quickick, Max and iXL are drinks typically consumed during activities that last less than two hours.


For most exercising athletes the ideal fluid for pre-hydration and rehydration is water. Water is quickly absorbed, well-tolerated, and excellent thirst quencher and cost-effective. I learned from my doctors in Palm Springs following a heat stroke that it is best to alternate water with Gatorade or G2 so that the electrolytes can be restored in your system.


Drinks to avoid during exercise are fruit juices with less than 8 percent carbohydrate content and beverages containing caffeine, alcohol and carbonation. These can create a high risk of dehydration due to excess urine production or decreased voluntary fluid intake.


The quote this week is from me! “Heat illness is a real deal.” My advice to all young high school athletes – please be prepared and follow all hydration recommendations.


Tim Crone is the former Head Football Coach and Activities Director at Blue Springs High School.