Play Safe in the Heat by Dr. Lindsay Di Stefano

Five high school athletes have died in the past week from a heat-related illness after being physically active in the heat. As temperatures rise, it is critical that athletes of all ages follow some basic steps to stay safe in the heat!

  1. Drink plenty of fluids
    1. Water is key! Your urine should be a light to clear color (like lemonade). You are probably dehydrated if it is dark yellow (like apple juice). Being dehydrated can increase your risk for becoming too hot and may impair your performance.
    2. Replacing electrolytes through sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, is smart if you are exercising for a long time.
  2. Exercise smart
    1. Early or late in the day is better when temperatures are lower.
    2. Don’t expect to break your personal records in the heat.
    3. If possible, choose to exercise in the shade or indoors when it is really hot out.
    4. Acclimatize yourself to exercising in the heat. If you know you’ll be playing a tournament or if you are beginning practices for a fall sport over the hot summer months start gradually working out in the heat. Keep your workouts short and make sure you have plenty of access to water. Give yourself at least a week to get used to the heat but always still listen to your body!
    5. IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL WHILE EXERCISING IN THE HEAT, STOP!!
  3. Prepare
    1. Carry an insulated lunch pail with a face cloth, soaked in water and then frozen. (a tip from Yale ’84 soccer player Susan Diaz Killenberg) You can wrap this around your neck, drape over your head or back, or cool your face with it.
    2. Wear wicking garments that help your stay cool.
    3. Wear light colors because they reflect, rather than absorb light.
    4. Bring and extra pair of soccer socks and slips so you can change them between games.
  4. Recognize the red flags
    1. Confusion or disorientation – this is a dangerous symptom of heat illness because people may not realize they have a problem!
    2. Other signs or symptoms: cramps, nausea, thirst, dizziness, headache, irritability, vomiting, fatigue.
    3. Body temperature over 104°F. Don’t trust an oral temperature reading – it may underestimate.
    4. If you suspect heat stroke, putting the person in cold water or aggressively putting cold water over them is the quickest and safest way to lower body temperature. This treatment leads to a 100% survival rate when performed early. After cooling, transport the individual to the nearest medical facility immediately.

References:

NATA Position Statement
Korey Stringer Institute

August 2: Happy Birthday, Skylar Diggins!

Happy birthday to Skylar Diggins, star of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish basketball team.  As a sophomore, the guard led her team to the 2011 NCAA championship game, where they lost to Texas A&M. However, Diggins’ efforts did not go unnoticed; she was named a 2011 All-American by the Associated Press and a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award. She was also selected as a member of the 2011 State Farm Coaches All-Star Team.

June 26: Happy Belated Birthday, Babe Didrikson Zaharias!

babe didrikson

Happy belated birthday to Babe Didrikson Zaharias, named the 9th Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century by the Associated Press and the 10th Greatest North American Athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN. Didrikson Zaharias excelled at a variety of events, especially those within the areas of track and field, basketball, and golf. Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1951, the Texan native won 41 LPGA tours, including 10 major championships. She has also won three Olympic medals- two gold medals, in the javelin throw and 80m hurdles, and a silver in the high jump. In terms of basketball, Didrikson Zaharias gained All-American status and played for the Amateur Athletic Union. She is considered a Renaissance woman due to her versatility and success across a wide range of athletic events.

Passing on the Stories

The most popular professional sports in America, in the world, even, are dominated by men- think football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and, though an increasingly large number of females are playing sports, women’s professional leagues still suffer from lack of interest. This is in part because our society has long been adamant that sports are only for men but also because the legacy and culture of men’s sports are passed down from father to son.

As a brand devoted to helping develop women’s sports and girls’ interest in sports, Dragonwing girlgear® believes it is crucial for girls to learn about female athletes who have conquered in order to see them as role models.  Boys, and girls, who don’t play baseball are well aware of Babe Ruth’s story.  What about the other Babe?  Not that many young female golfers, basketball players, or runners learn about Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the athlete extraordinaire who excelled at all of those sports.

This trend we’re seeing, of female athletes remaining obscure and girls remaining deprived of female role models in the sports arena, must end if women are to achieve equality in the world of athletics. If the stories of strong, successful female soccer players, figure skaters, runners, and gymnasts aren’t told, their successes will be lost to this generation of girls. Girls should grow up with the belief that they too can become a part of sports history and that there is a spot for them in the world of sports. To understand this, though, the tales of successful female athletes need to be shared.

In order to rectify this social pattern and to raise awareness of successful female athletes, Sideline Chatter is going to be featuring such legends on their birthdays, celebrating the players who have established women’s place in the world of sports.

A Proper Warm-up

One of the goals of the Dragonwing girlgear™ blog is to provide readers with evidence-based, practical information to help encourage safe and healthy participation in sports for all athletes, but with a special focus for preadolescent and adolescent girls. I am pleased to introduce Dr. Lindsay Di Stefano who will give us the most up-to-date advice. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. Dr. DiStefano is also a certified athletic trainer with experience treating and rehabilitating injured athletes. Her primary research through the Human Performance Laboratory at UCONN focuses on finding ways to prevent injuries related to sport and physical activity.

Dr. DiStefano writes today on A Proper Warm-Up.

First Step to Any Activity: A Proper Warm-up

Fifteen girls put their bags down and jog around the soccer field together. They stop at midfield and align themselves in a circle with one teammate in the center. This “captain” leads her team through a series of static stretches by counting off 30 seconds per stretch. After the team has completed a few stretches, they walk off the field to their waiting coach and begin practice. Have you seen this scenario before?

I surely have! Here is an example of another common scenario frequently played out on youth sport fields: The team arrives, they start talking to one another catching up on the day’s events, and may start juggling or passing to one another before the actual practice begins. Or a third scenario occurs when an athlete walks out of their front door and starts running three miles. Unfortunately, the athletes in all three scenarios are not helping themselves be as prepared as possible for any training, practice, or game. Not only are these athletes not putting their bodies in the best condition for performance, but they may also be increasing their risk of injury.

A better solution to these examples above is to gradually prepare your body for the upcoming activity.

The first thing to do is to start increasing your heart rate, which will begin to “warm-upyour muscles. There are many ways to accomplish this goal. You can walk at progressively faster speeds, leading to a jog, possibly incorporate some quicker runs, or you can ride a bike with low resistance, or even play a small game that involves low to moderate effort. The goal is to just get your body moving and your heart rate up!

After you are feeling “warm” and perhaps even sweating a little, you can start performing some specific exercises for various muscles. These exercises will help your muscles get used to working (producing force) while they are moving. Here is where the big difference lies between traditional “static stretching” and a “dynamic warm-up”. Once you have “warmed up” your body through gradual exercise, you do not want to stand in place and essentially cool it down. Static stretches that are held for a long period of time may interfere with your muscles’ ability to work effectively. Research has shown that a dynamic warm up more effectively prepares the body for athletic participation. Instead of performing static stretches, try some of these dynamic movements. Similar to the warm up activity, you should gradually progress the speed and intensity used for these exercises. You will be ready to jump into full-speed activity when you are finished with these exercises.

Walking knee to chest, lateral shuffles and skipping are a few movements to get you started. Look for the addendum to this  blog post for an easy to print off comprehensive list of dynamic movements that can improve your warm-up routine.

So next time you see athletes start performing “static” stretches before any physical activity, suggest to them that they should try out some new moves that might help prevent injury and may improve their performance!

Thanks for another great review.

Aries Apparel recently wrote with this customer comment about the Un-Tee: “A mom who called back after buying one the other day to see what other colors we had and if we could get black.. was so funny! She said that her daughter she had bought it for would not take it off and said, “this is like the best tank top ever made mom! I am never going to take it off, I am even going to sleep in it!” Tee hee”

Thanks for sharing this with us.  Please write with your experiences with  Dragonwing girlgear™!

Sideline Chatter: Dragonwing girlgear Announces New Official Retailer

Dragonwing girlgear announces Aries Apparel as an Official Retailer

Dragonwing girlgear ™ — the first line of athletic sport and support wear designed for young sporty girls ages 8-17 — announces that Portland, OR based Aries Apparel, (a women and girls only athletic apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment retailer www.ariesapparel.com) is now an official retailer of the Dragonwing girlgear line of Un-Tee Camis and Un-Dee Compression shorts.