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Heat Sickness at Summer and Sports Camps

Young boy taking his football helmet off after a gameIf you have a child that plays sports or is attending summer camp, it’s important that you understand heat-related illnesses. It is equally important for coaches, counselors and other workers to be aware of these illnesses that can affect people of any age.

It’s not unusual for practices, activities and games to take place under the high heat of the sun. In most cases, these activities are completed without incident. In the worst cases, such as one in Louisiana, a young person can die from what is known as exertional heatstroke, or EHS.

The fact is that EHS is the third leading cause of sudden death among athletes in high school. It is a severe illness that can lead to organ and brain damage, and even death in extreme cases. People can be healthy and experience EHS. It typically affects people who are very young or elderly or those who have pre-existing medical conditions. People who are loaded down with gear and uniforms are particularly susceptible.

Medical professionals have recommended that athletes do not participate in two-a-day practices. Colleges have listened to the recommendations and banned two-a-days as has the National Football League. High schools have been slower to follow. Georgia is one such state in which back-to-back two-a-days are banned, but two-a-days are still permitted.

Signs and Symptoms of EHS

There are two particular forms of heat illness that are most concerning: heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is recognized by heavy sweating, pale skin and a weak pulse. Those with heat exhaustion may experience muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, a feeling of being weak or tired, dizziness and headache. A person exhibiting these signs should be moved to a cool place, have their clothes loosened and sip water. Medical intervention is immediately necessary if symptoms last longer than one hour, vomiting occurs or symptoms get worse.

Heat stroke is characterized by a high body temperature, fast, strong pulse, nausea, a feeling of confusion and headache. People experiencing heat stroke may pass out. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency that warrants immediate medical attention. While waiting for emergency medical responders, the person should be moved to the shade and covered with cool cloths. The person should not be given anything to drink.

Heat related illnesses can be very serious and are almost always avoidable. If you have a child that will be playing sports this summer or attending a camp, do not hesitate to find out how much heat exposure your child will be subjected to and what policies are in place to protect young people from heat illness.

If your child suffers a heat-related illness in Atlanta and someone is found to have been negligent, you may be legally able to seek compensation in civil court. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your child’s illness and advise you of your legal options.