WORCESTER, Mass., July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Northeast experiences its third heat wave and temperatures around the country continue to heat up this summer, The Hanover Insurance Group today released suggestions to help organizers of athletic camps and programs, as well as parents, keep youth safe from heat-related injuries, which can cause serious illness and even death.
Heat exhaustion has emerged as a serious and even deadly threat among young athletes, particularly during the summer when many athletes are preparing for fall sports and practicing hard in the sun.
"Athletics are designed to be enjoyable, healthy activities for students, but without the education and the right precautions in place, heat can turn a fun activity into a nightmare," said Michael J. Billings, vice president of loss control programs at The Hanover. "Camp organizers, coaches, athletes and parents can be more confident when athletic groups and schools have a clear plan in place for dealing with extreme heat and that they follow those guidelines to help maintain a safe environment for young athletes."
Of all the heat-related illnesses, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most dangerous. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, muscle cramps, difficulty breathing, confusion and dizziness. If left untreated, body systems and organs begin to shut down. To help those people who are facilitating athletics practices avoid the risk of heat-related illnesses, The Hanover suggests a Hot Weather Plan be adopted by amateur sport organizations.
"These procedures, when followed correctly, can save lives. Parents shouldn't hesitate to inquire about a Hot Weather Plan to help ensure the safety of their children on the field," said Billings.
Suggested Hot Weather Plan should include:
- Comprehensive training for athletics staff to recognize signs of heat illness and provide appropriate response techniques. Never practice without qualified staff on the field that can both recognize the signs of heat-related issues and immediately treat them.
- Guidelines for measuring and reacting to temperature and humidity levels. Clear guidelines allow for everyone to be on the same page. For instance, reducing activities when the heat index is at or tops 95 and cutting off activities at an index of 105.
- Providing participants with frequent water breaks, and a trip to the scales at the beginning and end of each practice session. Water intake is important. If a player's weight drops 3 percent or more, it's considered a sign of dehydration; losses of 5 percent could be seen as an indicator of heat-related illness.
- A plan for reacting to heat stroke emergencies including body-cooling arrangements. If a heat illness is suspected, immediately remove the athlete to a shady or air-conditioned area. Provide cold drinks, loosen clothing, and spray or sponge with cool water. Cooling should continue even if an ambulance is called, as the body may only withstand heat illness for about 30 minutes.
- Plan on giving athletes' bodies time to acclimatize to the environment and heat stresses. To decrease the number of heat-related illnesses, the National Collegiate Athletic Association recently instituted a mandatory five day acclimatization period. The intent is that practice intensity level and duration in this period should be increased gradually.
By implementing a Hot Weather Plan, parents, counselors and coaches can ensure their athletes stay safe.
In addition, The Hanover offers Sports & Fitness Advantage, a comprehensive set of capabilities for amateur sports organizations. Sports & Fitness Advantage encompasses a broad, customizable line of industry specific products to provide complete protection, along with specialized loss control services. This unique offering for amateur sports is available through local independent agents who represent The Hanover insurance. To find an agent in your area, visit the "Find an Agent" section on www.hanover.com.
ABOUT THE HANOVER
The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., based in Worcester, Mass., is one of the top 25 property and casualty insurers in the United States. For more than 160 years, The Hanover has provided a wide range of property and casualty products and services to businesses, individuals, and families. The Hanover distributes its products through a select group of agents and brokers. Through its international member company, Chaucer, The Hanover also underwrites business at Lloyd's of London in several major insurance and reinsurance classes including political risk, marine, aviation and energy. For more information, please visit hanover.com.
The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries ("The Hanover") specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.
SOURCE The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc.