It's almost time for local high school athletes to kick off the Fall sports season. Among the health risks are high heat and humidity and head injuries. It is never too early to start thinking about safety precautions pertaining to the upcoming sports seasons. The suffocating humidity levels as of late are a main concern that comes to mind during these Summer time practices. The other major concern are concussions as awareness for head injuries are on the rise.
Gundersen Health Systems Sports Clinic in Onalaska frequently see head injuries relating to Fall sports like soccer and football. Preventing concussions can be difficult, but if you have properly fitted equipment and safety gear like mouth guards, the risk of concussions can be lessened. Ultimately, the athlete should keep in mind some of those concussion-like symptoms so they don't continue to play while injured.
Shawn Boyler, a Clinical Athletic Trainer at Gundersen Health Systems say that some symptoms can include, "Headache, dizziness, not feeling like your normal self. Kind of feeling a little more slowed down than you normally would after practices. Usually some visual problems; sensitive to light always."
Aside from the concussion symptoms, Shawn recommends drinking about half a pint of water for every 15 minutes of practice time. It isn't just during practice you should be concerned about though. Shawn says, "Making sure you replenish after activity, especially within the first two hours. You want to replace any fluid loss during practices. So if you lose 4 pounds, you'll want to replenish that amount."
Also, getting in your electrolytes and carbohydrates withing the first two hours after practice are important to help with muscle fatigue and hydration. The biggest thing for athletes to keep in mind first and foremost is, if you are not feeling yourself, heed those warning signs and take a break until you're ready to return to the field. If symptoms worsen you should see your sports physician for a more thorough evaluation. Doctors also recommend maintaining neck strength and flexibility as an important way to help prevent future concussions.