Information about heat illness from the CHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee

The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee sends out updates on pertinent information periodically. Today's topic is heat illness.

Heat Illness

  • Definition: Heat illness is a spectrum of disorders occurring in athletes exposed to excessive environmental heat.

Heat Related Disorders

  • Heat Cramps: Heat cramps present a mild form of heat-illness that can be easily treated. These intense muscle spasms usually develop after prolonged, intense exercises in the heat. The cramps are thought to result from fluid and electrolyte loss from sweating.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is a moderate heat illness that occurs along a spectrum of severity and is associated with symptoms that may require medical attention.
  • Exertional Heat Stroke: Heat Stroke is severe heat illness and represents a medical emergency that requires immediate action. Heat stroke can lead to permanent disability or even death if left untreated.

Prevention is key

  1. Monitor environment
  2. Adjust workload/equipment in dangerous conditions
  3. Acclimatization of athletes
  4. Mandate scheduled rest/breaks/hydration during practices for participants
  5. Proper diet and hydration methods

For complete CHSAA Heat Illness information, please visit the Sports Medicine homepage.