National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Offeres Heat Illness Prevention Tips for Youth Football Players

Organization Suggests Additional Summer Health & Safety Tips for Active People of All Ages

DALLAS, July 12 – For thousands of six to 13 year-olds in youth football leagues around the country, mid-July means the beginning of pre-season practice. To educate parents, coaches and the players themselves on how to prevent heat-related illnesses during the sweltering summer months, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), have prepared “Guidelines on Heat Safety in Football.” NATA and GSSI recommend that the leagues:

  • Arrange proper medical coverage at all practices and games
  • Acclimate the young athletes to the heat over a two-week period
  • Allow proper fluid replacement to maintain hydration
  • Weigh in athletes before and after practices to monitor sweat loss and dehydration
  • Arrange practice and rest in shaded areas and during cooler times of the day
  • Provide proper rest periods during and in-between practice sessions
  • Minimize the amount of equipment and clothing worn by players in hot and humid conditions, particularly during the acclimation period

The NATA’s Age Specific Task Force recommends that all young players be permitted to remove their helmets during rest breaks during both practices and games, as well as in-between periods and at halftime. With the football helmet on at all times in hot and humid weather, the body core temperature can increase to a greater extent and may play a role in the development of an exertional heat illness. Combining proper hydration, rest and the removal of the helmet for a period of time assists in the reduction of core body temperature and reduces the risk of developing a heat illness. To view the entire statement, please visit NATA, a non-profit organization that represents 30,000 members of the athletic training profession, periodically issues position and consensus statements on sports and health-related issues. Timely, summer-related statements include:

About the NATA: Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are unique health care providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. NATA, 2952 Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 200, Dallas, TX 75247, 214.637.6282; 214.637.2206 (fax).

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