Soccer Star Kristine Lilly, Pro Sports Leagues Help Kids "Defeat the Heat"

Public Safety Campaign Expanding Reach to Protect Young Athletes from Dehydration, Set to Reach 100 Million This Summer BOSTON, Mass. (May 28, 2003) - With the summer heat set to send temperatures soaring across the country, Women's World Cup Soccer star Kristine Lilly joined forces with U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) to promote Defeat the Heat™, the first-ever public safety campaign dedicated to protecting active kids from dangerous dehydration and heat illness. Now in its second year, Defeat the Heat - a partnership of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), with support from The Gatorade Company - is dramatically increasing its year two reach with help from professional sports leagues that will spread important safety messages this summer through community outreach and in-stadium communications across the country. "Especially during the summer heat, dehydration and heat-related illness are ongoing threats to active kids," said Heather Paul, Ph.D., the executive director of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "A recent survey1 shows that most parents are not aware of how to prevent these conditions that can send a child to the emergency room. That's why we're expanding the reach of Defeat the Heat and expect to reach 100 million people thanks to the involvement of Kristine Lilly and the pro sports leagues." Today, Lilly, a member of the Women's World Cup and Boston Breakers soccer teams, helped kick-off the season's Defeat the Heat events by hosting the inaugural Defeat the Heat soccer clinic with young athletes and their parents at a Boston-area soccer club. "Dehydration is an entirely preventable problem, as long as parents and kids understand how to drink enough of the right kinds of fluids to prevent it," said Lilly. "I want to ensure the kids soccer camps I host are the best they can be, and sharing the important Defeat the Heat information makes my camp even more valuable to athletes and their parents." Each year more than 300 people die of heat-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many more children, like 11-year-old Abe Howe of Coalinga, CA, who helped launch the 2002 Defeat the Heat campaign, require medical attention due to dehydration and heat illnesses suffered during the hot summer months. HOW TO DEFEAT THE HEAT Research shows that children are more susceptible to dehydration and heat illness than adults, but a survey (1) commissioned by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign revealed that more than three out of four parents of active kids aged 8-14 do not know how to prevent dehydration in their children. A few basics all parents should know:

  • A child can lose up to a quart of sweat during two hours of exercise (2,3).
  • Children absorb more heat from their environment than adults (4) and cannot dissipate that heat through sweat as quickly.
  • The "ABCs" are an easy way for kids and parents to remember how to Defeat the Heat™:
    • Always drink before, during and after activity to replace what you've lost through sweat,
    • Bring the right fluids. Research shows sports drinks like Gatorade hydrate best.
    • Consider fluids as part of the essential safety equipment for sports.
  • Studies show that when drinking water, kids will drink only about 50 percent of what they need while a lightly flavored sports drink like Gatorade encourages them to drink 90 percent more than water to stay better hydrated (5).
  • Warning signs of dehydration include thirst, headaches and unusual fatigue.
  • "Most certified athletic trainers unfortunately have first-hand experience with treating dehydration and heat illness in athletes of all ages," said Marjorie Albohm, certified athletic trainer (ATC) who serves on the NATA board of directors. "Because of our medical training and knowledge of physical activity and sports, certified athletic trainers can respond to these emergencies appropriately. Prevention is the key issue, however, which is why we partner with programs like Defeat the Heat and organizations like the National SAFE KIDS Campaign." In addition to outreach through the pro sports leagues, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and NATA, with support from The Gatorade Company, will hold local Defeat the Heat events throughout the country, distribute a televised public service announcement and make educational materials available through and a hotline at 1-866-5DEFEAT. 1Survey conducted by Harris InteractiveSM April 23-25, 2002. 2Iuliano, S. et al. Evaluation of the self-selected fluid intake practices by junior athletes during a simulated duathlon event. Int J Sports Nutr 8:10-23, 1998. 3Meyer, F. et al. Sweat electrolyte loss during exercise in the heat: effects of gender and maturation. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24:776-781, 1992. 4 Bar-Or, O. Temperature regulation during exercise in children and adolescents. In: Gisolfi C, Lamb DR, eds. Perspectives in Exercise and Sports Medicine, II. Youth, Exercise and Sport. Indianapolis, IN: Benchmark Press; 1989, 335-367. 5 Wilk B. and O. Bar-Or. Effect of drink flavor and NaCl on voluntary drinking and hydration in boys exercising in the heat. J Appl Physiol, 80: 1112-1117, 1996. Media Contact: Tracy Hollywood 312-751-3619

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