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A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention

A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention-2


A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention

Course Objectives:

  • Recognize that Exertional Heatstroke (EHS) is the leading preventable cause of death among athletes.
  • Know the importance of a formal pre-season heat acclimatization plan.
  • Know the importance of having and implementing a specific hydration plan, keeping your athletes well-hydrated, and providing ample opportunities for, and encouraging, regular fluid replacement.
  • Know the importance of appropriately modifying activities in relation to the environmental heat stress and contributing risk factors (e.g., illness, overweight) to keep your athletes safe and performing well.
  • Know the importance for all staff to closely monitor all athletes during practice and training in the heat, and recognize the signs and symptoms of developing heat illness.
  • Know the importance of, and resources for, establishing an Emergency Action Plan and promptly implementing it in case of suspected EHS or other medical emergency.


Unit 1: Go slow and progressive

  • Acclimatization can take up to 10-14 days
  • Build a period of acclimation into the first 2 weeks of practice.


Unit 2: Allow for individual conditioning and medical status

  • Factors contributing to higher risk for heat illness
    • Equipment
    • Body composition
  • Athletes with Sickle Cell trait


Unit 3: Adjust intensity and rest

  • Be aware of weather and humidity levels


Unit 4: Start sessions adequately hydrated

  • Dehydration can impair athletic performance
  • There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” hydration approach
  • Dehydration occurs when a person loses more fluid than he or she consumes
  • Know the warning signs of dehydration
  • Monitor urine color
  • Weigh in/weigh out
  • Know what your athletes drink
  • Water
  • Sports drinks


Unit 5: Recognize signs early


Unit 6: Recognize more serious signs


Unit 7:  Have an Emergency Action Plan 

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