Through the Forest

High school sports mean everything to those who participate in them. Whether it’s a young girl who just wants to spend time with her friends on the softball diamond or young boys looking to lay the foundation for a potential professional football career, these little pieces of high school mean the world to some young people.

Potential colleges and universities also look at a young person’s resume to see which extracurricular activities he has been involved in. College admission is no longer solely based on GPA, but rather how well-rounded a student is. So involvement in community service or athletics is important to include in the application.

The High School Athlete

High school athletes can literally become heroes in “Small Town USA,” and they know it. This often causes some of them to push themselves too hard, and if a teen is pushed far enough by an overzealous coach, they can quickly succumb to dehydration or other health-related problems.

It’s a well-known fact that most teenagers are not great at time management. It should be pointed out that training for young athletes often mandates a large time commitment. Depending on their sport, some teens must be at practice for as much as 6 days out of the week during the school year. That combined with the academic course load can be overwhelming for some students.

Practices during the summer months are usually held when the sun is at its hottest. The treeless playing fields or track surfaces can also radiate heat onto the athlete. Of course, teenagers also don’t like to allot precious time to sleeping or good nutrition. The likelihood of fatigue and getting run down is very high for teens because they don’t spend enough time on rest or recovery.

Potential Dangers Faced By Athletes

Just looking at the recent unpredictable weather in the nation is enough to understand how a teen can get injured in his sport. Even though many areas have experienced flooding, we have wide areas that are suffering from drought, making them vulnerable to fires. And with global warming, our summers are hotter. In South Carolina, for instance, there is a daily average high of 90 degrees. When this is added to a relative humidity ranging from 50 to 90, it’s a recipe for disaster for the student athlete.

This is why it’s so important for parents, especially those with high school athletes, to keep up with their teen’s sports activities. Dropping in on after-school training, for instance, can give a parent an idea of whether the coach is asking too much on a day of extreme heat. Additionally, a parent can take notice if their child starts showcasing strange behaviors that could relate to heat stroke or dehydration. Finally, a parent should never brush off their teen’s complaints of “weakness.” Their coach could legitimately be going over the line, when winning is the most important thing on his agenda.

The Aftermath Of Injury

It’s a sad fact, but teenagers have actually died from their coaches pushing them too hard when the heat outside should have had them, and their teammates, sidelined. If a parent’s teen becomes ill because of exhaustion, dehydration, or heat stroke, it’s imperative that they let the school know what has occurred. Speaking with the coach may also prevent any other students from falling victim to this situation.

Additionally, Hofland & Tomsheck Attorneys say a parent may be able to sue the school and coach for negligence. A coach who pushes a child too far can literally cause injuries that can prevent them from ever playing again, and in worst case scenarios, even end their life. Coaches are supposed to be trained professionals, so when they push teens further than they should be pushed, it can definitely constitute a form of negligence.

Every parent wants their child to be happy, and if playing a sport where everyone admires high school athletes is what it takes to make them happy, all the better. It’s important, though, for parents to strive to protect their teenager while they’re on the field. Passing out from exhaustion, dehydration, or sunstroke isn’t going to make them a better athlete. In the end, it could cost them much more than a high school sporting career.

Freelance writer Debbie Nguyen believes that youth sports should be fun, safe, and teach kids good sportsmanship. She is lucky her two teens’ coaches have always exemplified professionalism.

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High School Athletes And Dehydration: Deadly Combo