Summertime is hot and humid, especially here in Maryland. But no matter where you live, that hot summer sun can be problematic when playing sports. This time of year, heat exhaustion and heat stroke become very real threats to young athletes, which is why it is so important to stay cool and stay hydrated when on the baseball diamond.
Taking a Closer Look at Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke
The risk of heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion and even heat stroke, greatly increases when the temperature climbs above 90 degrees and the relative humidity is above 60 percent. The increased heat drains your body of energy, while the increased humidity hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body’s ability to cool itself.
Early warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be subtle, but the quick recognition of symptoms can be a real life saver. Literally.
Symptoms to Look For
Preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke hinges on hydration and staying cool.
Staying Cool and Hydrated on the Baseball Diamond
As a parent, just think about this. If you are hot and sweaty in the stands watching your son play, just imagine how hot he must be in his uniform in the direct sun. And would someone please think about the poor catcher. All of that equipment is hot, hot, hot! So it is important to make sure your son stays cool and well-hydrated while playing ball.
- Your Weight: Before the game, weight your son. Then, do the same when you get home. This will come into play at the end of tip No. 2.
- Drink Water (Or Sport Drink)! You probably saw this one coming, didn’t you? The best way to stay hydrated is – you guessed it – drinking plenty of water before, during, and after the game. Before the game, drink 4 to 8 ounces of water one to two hours before the first pitch, and again 15 minutes beforehand. Don’t forget to stay hydrated during the game, as well. Drink 5 to 9 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Then, after the game, drink at least 24 ounces of water for every pound lost during the game.
- Water Misters and Dugout Fans: For a quick cool down, personal water misters are great. They can help cool the air by 10-30 degrees. Dugout fans can also help keep the air moving, which keeps your players cooler. For an even quicker cool down, have a few cold packs handy for your players to hold against their wrists or the back of the neck.
- Fruits (and Veggies!): Ditch the sunflower seeds and grab some water-dense fruits and vegetables instead – oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries.
- Clothing: When selecting your team’s uniform, try to keep it light and airy. It’s also a good idea to have your players take their hats off in the dugout on particularly hot days.
- Rotate Players: On hot days be sure to rotate your players and give everyone a break.
More from Sandlot Swag
While you are here, please take a moment to browse our entire line of Baseball Shorts. And don’t forget, we also offer custom baseball shorts, perfect for travel teams, slow pitch softball teams, flag football teams, and more!