Heat and Athletes
People who exercise in extreme heat are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness.
If you feel faint or weak, STOP all activity and get to a cool place.
If you plan to exercise while it’s hot outside:
- Limit outdoor activity, especially during the middle of the day when the sun is hottest.
- Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
- Schedule workouts and practices earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler.
- Pace activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.
- Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
- Monitor a teammate’s condition, and have someone do the same for you.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Follow additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.
Learn how to spot heat-related illness
Heat-related illness in athletes can be prevented if coaches and athletes are properly educated about heat safety. Provided below are links to resources states are using to support this effort. In addition, we have provided links to two heat-related illness courses and a study on the effectiveness of heat acclimatization guidelines.
Some State Heat Resources for Athletes
Extreme heat toolkit, including heat illness prevention video and a music video for students, athletes
Heat acclimatization and illness management policy (Arizona Interscholastic Association)
http://aiaonline.org/files/16325/heat-acclimatization-exertional-heat-illness-management-policy.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 238 KB]external icon
Heat illness prevention guidelines (California Interscholastic Federation)
https://cifstate.org/sports-medicine/heat_illness/Prevention_of_Heat_Illness.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 62 KB]external icon
Heat resources for athletes (Michigan High School Athletic Association)
Elevated temperatures associated with synthetic turf
Heat safety tips for athletes and coaches
https://publichealth.nc.gov/chronicdiseaseandinjury/doc/HeatSafetyTipsforAthletesandCoaches.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 411 KB]external icon
Coaching requirements, heat index policy (Oregon School Activities Association)
Heat illness in athletes fact sheet (Multnomah County)
Procedures for athletic participation in the heat
https://vpaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/Sports_Docs/vpa_heat_policy_aug2015_v4.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 478 KB]external icon
Heat Illness Prevention Resources
Heat Illness Prevention Courses
Heat Illness Prevention (accreditation available for coaches)
Recognizing, Preventing, and Treating Heat-Related Illness (CDC)
The Association between Mandated Preseason Heat Acclimatization Guidelines and Exertional Heat Illness during Preseason High School American Football Practices (NIH paper)