Cancel Training/Matches When it’s Too Hot

The country is set to see record temperatures this week with forecasts over 40°C in some parts, which means that clubs and coaches must consider cancelling scheduled training and matches.

The government has issued a first-ever red heat warning for Monday and Tuesday (18 and 19 July), meaning that the weather poses a risk to life even for those considered to be fit and healthy. Many schools have left it to parents to decide whether to bring their children in or to keep them at home on the account of the heat, while many workplaces are allowing staff to work remotely where possible.

Grassroots sports clubs have a decision to make regarding any games and training sessions that have been scheduled during the heatwave. As per “The Department of Health and Social Care recommends children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are more than 30°C.”

Temperatures are expected to reach 40°C, 10°C more than the recommended threshold to cease vigorous physical activity for children, in many parts of the country.

Children are at Greater Risk in High Temperatures

Children are more susceptible to higher temperatures than adults because they are less able to control their body temperature. Children do not swear as much as adults do, which is a key way for the body to regulate its temperature.

Grassroots coaches, especially those coaching young children, must make a sensible decision as to whether it is safe for their group to partake in physical activity. If a decision is taken to go ahead with training or matches, precautions should be taken – such as:

  • Moving times to a cooler period of the day if possible
  • Using a cool, shaded area (or an air-conditioned indoor facility)
  • Keeping high-intensity activity to a minimum
  • Ensure that there is plenty of water for everyone
  • Incorporating plenty of breaks in the session to take on fluids

What to Watch Out For

Coaches have a duty of care and should be aware of any signs that their players are struggling. Heat stress and heat stroke, as well as dehydration, are the main things to watch out for in high temperatures and a player should be immediately removed and given medical attention.

Signs of Heat Stress

  • Noticeably acting out of character (irritability, argumentative etc…)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and/or confusion
  • Feeling sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Fast breathing/pulse
  • Excessive thirst
  • Body temperature of 38°C or higher

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • Body temperature of 40°C or higher
  • Red, hot skin
  • Sweating that stops suddenly
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fast shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Lacking co-ordination
  • Fitting
  • Loss of consciousness

Stay Safe

Above anything else, make sure to stay safe during the heatwave and over the summer. Try to enjoy the warm weather as much as you can, but do so sensibly in a way that does not put health at risk.

Many clubs may have just begun pre-season training, but the pursuit of trophies should never come ahead of the health and safety of players at any age.

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