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Ala Med. 1991 Mar;60(9):10-4.

Heat illness in football players in Alabama.

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Division of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


Fall football practice in Alabama generally begins during the later months of summer during some of the hottest periods of the year. Exercise during these periods significantly exposes young athletes to risks of heat illness and possible death and is made even more dangerous while training in full football uniform. In order to delineate specific guidelines to reduce the risk of heat illness, optimal practice times and fluid replacement schedules were studied for the state of Alabama. A review of five-year climatological data (1984-1988) for the months of August and September were conducted for four geographic regions of the state. A study of the data revealed that there were no environmental combinations at any time periods during the month of August for any locale in the state that would be considered safe for outdoors practice in full uniform. Similar results were recorded for September for cities in the south-central portion of the state. There were only two time periods during which players could practice outdoor with extreme caution. The periods were at 0900 and 1800 hrs in the north-central and northern portions of the state. If practice is conducted outdoors in Alabama during August and September, copious amounts of water should be consumed prior to practice; frequent water breaks should be scheduled throughout practice at which time each player should consume 150 - 200 ml; and the player should be carefully monitored for signs of heat illness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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