Health & Safety

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To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, CDC developed the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The Heads Up initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion.

 Concussion Management Tools for Coaches & Parents:


Click here:


click here: New Safe Sports Act



A heat related illness occurs when the body is not able to regulate, or control, its temperature. If left untreated, a heat illness can lead to serious complications, even death. If detected and treated early, however, most serious problems can be avoided. 

The American College of Sports Medicine's 1996 Position Stand, "Exercise and Fluid Replacement" and the Gatorade Sport Science Institute (1997) generally recommend the following: 
• Drink at least 32 oz. two hours before exercise
• Drink 16 oz. 15 minutes before exercise
• Drink 4-8 oz. every 15 minutes during exercise to replace sweat 
• Drink 24 oz. for every 1 pound of body weight deficit post-activity
• Overall, an individual should drink 10-12 cups (80-96 oz.) daily

Rule of Thumb from USA Football: Take half of your body weight and drink that in ounces per day. Start when you wake up and create a hydration schedule that keeps you on track, but remember, it doesn’t include what you lose during a workout, so you have to replenish that as well.

Example: If you weigh 100 pounds (100/2=50)your hydration target is 50 ounces per day, not including rehydrating after practice. 

Ü Use the Urine Color Chart to determine if you are getting enough water.

Be Aware of Supplements
• Research has shown supplements use can raise blood pressure, speed heart rate and contribute to dehydration. 
• Products containing ephedrine contribute to fatal heart rhythm difficulties, heat related illnesses, stroke, and seizures. 
• Ephedrine raises the body's heat production and body temperatures and increases the risk of developing heat illnesses. 
• Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, nutritional labels may be inconsistent. 
• Creatine may be linked to muscle cramping if working out in the heat of the day.

Keep Cool
• Use ice towels 
• Use cold tub 
• Wear light-weight clothing

Ü Notify a Medical Professional if experiencing any signs of dehydration and heat illness.


Football is a game that demands incredible physical and mental exertion. To achieve the greatest success possible, you must be prepared to meet those demands. Think of an athlete as an automobile: To function at all, there must be fuel in the gas tank. Like automobiles, athletes perform more efficiently when consuming the right kind of fuel.

Caloric Intake
The number of calories you need to consume daily is affected by your current body weight, as well as any intent to gain, lose or maintain weight. For example, a 250-pound athlete who is looking to bulk up to compete against larger opponents needs to eat vastly more calories than does a 220-pound athlete who needs to be faster in order to keep up with smaller players. 

Protein is important for the development of muscles, but protein is not the primary fuel you will be burning during football season. The short, repeated bursts of high energy football requires carbohydrates to help your body recover most quickly. Complex carbohydrates that take longer to break down are most efficient at providing energy, but must be consumed well in advance for you to reap the greatest benefits.

Calories can hide in what you are drinking. This is the easiest way to cut back on calories if need be. You can make water taste better by using individual drink mixes available in almost every grocery store. Eliminate sodas --- they are full of empty calories, and also hurt your training capacity. Juices are good as long as they are not highly processed; though it may surprise you, unless you are involved in greatly strenuous activity such as two-a-days, or performing in great heat, sports drinks are overrated. Water provides all the hydration necessary without the sugar and calories associated with sports drinks.

Pregame Meal
One tradition among athletes is the pregame meal. Determining what to eat and drink here is essential to your performance. You cannot perform at your best if you are hungry, but you also cannot be weighed down by food that has not been digested properly. Consume your protein and complex carbohydrates either the night before competition or in the morning or at mid-day of the day itself. Do not load up on complex carbs or protein within three hours of competition. Instead, for this meal, choose fruits or smaller portions of carbs such as sandwiches or cereal bars.

After a practice or game, first replenish your lost fluids. Today, many teams weigh athletes before and after each practice, and a player who loses too much weight during a practice and cannot gain it back must sit out. Drink 24 ounces of water for every pound you lose during practice. Any food you eat should be high in carbohydrates.

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