Health Tips for the Athlete

This section provides information on preventing and dealing with sports related injuries.

This section is not intended to replace the medical advice of your personal physician, but can be used for informational purposes.

Hydration and Pre-Game Meals

Make sure your pregame meal plans follow these guidelines:

Allow enough time for digestion. Eat the meal at least three hours before an event.

Choose a meal that's high in starch. Starch is easy to digest and helps steady the levels of blood sugar.

Consume only moderate amounts of protein. Protein foods take longer to digest than starch. And high-protein meals may lead to increased urine production, which can add to dehydration.

Limit fats and oils. They take too long to digest.

Restrict sugary foods. Sweets can cause rapid energy swings in blood sugar levels and result in low blood sugar and less energy.

Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the body to increase urine output, which can contribute to dehydration problems, and a full bladder can be very uncomfortable.

Watch out for foods that produce gas. Certain raw vegetables, fruits, or beans may cause problems for some young athletes. Be aware of the foods that cause you problems, and avoid them just before an event.

Within these guidelines, chose foods you like to eat.

Remember to drink plenty of fluids with your pregame meal. Make sure you are drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water the day prior to the game. Prehydrating can improve cardiovascular function and body temperature regulation. Drink at least 16 oz in the morning, then another 16-32 oz one hour before competing. Fluids such as sports drinks, contain small amounts of sodium that decrease fluid losses in urination and better maintain hydration.