Helpful Tips in Avoiding Dehydration and Heat Illnesses

  1. Drinking plenty of fluids the night before and even days prior to practices, games or training sessions.  Examples would include Gatorade, Power-Ade and water.
  2. Avoid drinking soda, milk or energy drinks prior to practices, games or training sessions.
  3. Acclimating yourself to the heat by allow several days to elapse before practicing in full gear.
  4. Take frequent breaks to consume fluids in an effort to keep your core body temperature from overheating.
  5. Remove helmets, gloves and loosen any additional pads to allow for adequate air circulation.
  6. Find shade during your breaks under a tree, behind a shed or under a tent. This will aid in cooling down your core body temperature. 
  7.  If your team has a misting system or any time of cooling system, get in front of it as long as possible to cool down your core body temperature.
  8. Notify your coach, athletic trainer, teammate or parent if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseated. These are heat related symptoms which require immediate attention. Other symptoms would include a headache, lightheadedness or vomiting. 
  9. Listening to your bodies warning signals. For example, feeling sluggish and tired is a symptom associated with dehydration and therefore “working through it” would be the incorrect thing to do.
  10. Speak-up! Don’t be afraid that your coach or teammate will give you a hard time for taking a break. Everyone’s body functions differently and no one know your body better that you. It’s not about being “tough” it’s about being “Smart”.
  11. Drink before, during and after you’ve finished practicing, conditioning or participating in a game. You should continue to consume fluids until your urine is clear. Gold or yellow color urine indicates that your body is in need of fluids so keep drinking.

The first step in treating dehydration is prevention. Knowing the signs and symptoms associated with dehydration will better prepare you for those hot days on the game or practice field. As previously stated, it’s not about being “tough” but rather being “smart” while playing in the heat. 

Author: Keith Abrams is a certified athletic trainer who helps sporting event coordinators in locating qualified and certified athletic trainers ( You can reach Keith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow him on Twitter at @athtrainer4hire.

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