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Heat Policy

LA Fire will take all possible precautions to ensure a safe event. Related to heat, for all soccer related activity in all areas of the country, LA Fire has adopted the US Soccer Heat Guidelines. These guidelines are intended as a guide for coaches, referees, and athletes for training in warmer climates. Additionally, these guidelines are intended to also serve as a guide for match play, hydration breaks and participant safety during extreme temperature conditions. The information provided herein is not a substitute for medical or professional care and should not be used in place of a visit, consultation or the advice of a physician or other healthcare provider.

Prevention

  1. Develop and implement a heat policy (heat acclimatization guidelines, activity modification guidelines based on environmental conditions, and management of heat-related illness) as a part of your emergency action plan (EAP)
  2. Frequently monitor environmental conditional conditions using a Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) device or Heat Index and make practice modifications (e.g., increase the number and duration of hydration breaks, shortening practice, postponing practice/competition until cooler parts of the day)
  • Follow heat acclimatizing guidelines during preseason practices and conditioning
  • Ensure appropriate hydration policies are in place with athletes having unlimited access to water during practice and competition, especially in warm climates
  1. Educate staff on the signs and symptoms of heat related illness and early management
  2. Consider an on-site healthcare provider such as an athletic trainer for all practices and competitions

Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the body’s natural adaptation to exercising in the heat. This process typically takes 10-14 days. The protocol should require a gradual graded progression of exercise in the heat. This typically applies at the start of pre-season where athletes are beginning fitness training and progressive training exposure in the heat is recommended. Avoid the hottest part of the day for training sessions (10am-4pm). The guide for acclimatization is as follows:

Days 1-5

  • One formal day
  • Maximum 3 hours of training time (this includes warm up, stretches, and cool down)

Days 6-14

  • Double practice days can begin on day 6 and not exceed 5 hours in total practice time between the two practices. 
  • There should be a minimum of a 3 hour rest period between each training session during double practice days. The 3 hour rest period should take place in a cool environment to allow the body to fully recover. 
  • Each double practice day should be followed by a single practice day in which practice time on single days do not exceed 3 hours.
  • Athletes should receive 1 day of rest following 6 days of continuous practice. 

Exertional Heat Illness Treatment

Recognition of Heat Illness/Signs and Symptoms

Heat illnesses include:

  • Exercise Induced/Associated Muscle Cramps
    • During or after intense exercise
    • Presents as painful, acute, involuntary muscle contraction
    • May be caused by dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, neuromuscular fatigue or a combination of these
    • Signs and symptoms:
      • Visible muscle cramping, localized pain, dehydration, thirst, sweating, fatigue
  • Heat Exhaustion
    • Often occurs in hot, humid conditions
    • Occurs in presence of dehydration, heavy sweating, and sodium loss
    • Signs and symptoms:
      • Excessive fatigue, fainting, minor cognitive changes, weakness, vomiting, nausea, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, impaired muscle coordination
  • Exertional Heat Stroke
    • The two primary diagnostic criteria for exertional heat stroke are central nervous system dysfunction and a core body temperature typically greater than 105°F.
    • In the event of a suspected heat stroke and the core temperature is slightly lower, it remains vital to treat the athlete as if they are suffering an exertional heat stroke.
    • Rectal temperature is the only accurate method of obtaining a true measurement of core body temperature.
      • OSMI Athletic Trainers will not asses’ core temperature. The athletic trainer will monitor CNS dysfunction and activate the EAP per standard operating protocols.
    • An invalid method of temperature measurement should not be used as a substitute for a measure of rectal temperature.
    • Signs and symptoms:
      • Central nervous system dysfunction (aggressiveness, altered consciousness, loss of consciousness, collapse, coma, confusion, delirium, disorientation, dizziness, hysteria, irritability, loss of balance, seizures)
      • Core body temperature of 105°F or higher

 

Treatment of Heat Illness

  • Exercise Induced/Associated Muscle Cramps
    • Rest and passive static stretching are the hallmarks of heat cramp treatment.
    • Icing and massage may also aid in recovery.
    • The athlete should also consume sodium containing fluids and foods.
  • Heat Exhaustion
    • Removal of any excess clothing and equipment should occur first, followed by moving the athlete to a cool, shaded location.
    • Fans and ice towels may be utilized to further facilitate cooling.
    • Vital signs will be monitored, and the athlete’s legs should be elevated. In the event rapid improvement does not occur, fluid replacement should be initiated, and a physician should be contacted.
    • EMS should be activated in the event of further deterioration.
  • Exertional Heat Stroke
    • The ultimate goal of treatment is to reduce the core body temperature within 30 minutes of athlete collapse.
    • Activate EAP if an athlete shows signs and symptoms of Central Nervous System dysfunction:
      • aggressiveness
      • altered consciousness
      • loss of consciousness
      • collapse
      • coma
      • confusion
      • delirium
      • disorientation
      • dizziness
      • hysteria
      • irritability
      • loss of balance
      • seizure
    • Immediately remove the athlete from the sun
    • Beginning cooling with ice/ice towels/ice water until EMS arrives.
      • Vital signs should be monitored during cooling every 5 to 10 minutes to avoid overcooling.