Dehydration a worry for players, coaches - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Dehydration a worry for players, coaches

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With football season kicking off, parents and coaches are working hard to keep players in the best shape possible. But many times the demands of football practice and the heat of late summer can be a dangerous combination for younger athletes.

Over the weekend, several cases of dehydration were reported throughout the state. Athletic trainers say many times players aren't educated on the risks of dehydration.

"It's harder to see the signs of dehydration in children. If they're looking a little sluggish and they look like they are about to daze off, those are surefire signs that you need to pull them off the field." says Amanda Metzger, the Healthy Living Coordinator of the YMCA of Kanawha Valley.

Metzger says some athletes feel symptoms of heat exhaustion but decide to play through the headache and dizziness in order to appear tough.

"It is not about how you look up there," she said. "It is about how you perform and you only perform, and you can only perform when you are hydrated."

Football players are more susceptible to dehydration and heat illness that other athletes. The 25 to 30 pounds of heavy equipment they wear can raise body temperature to dangerous levels. Experts recommend for athletes to take mandatory water breaks during the game. According to the CDC, individuals should drink 4 to 8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes while out on the field.