STAYING ACTIVE, SAFE IN SUMMER HELPS KEEP STUDENT ATHLETES READY FOR FALL

July 12, 2019

STAYING ACTIVE, SAFE IN SUMMER HELPS KEEP STUDENT ATHLETES READY FOR FALL

Call Now To Schedule a Physical for Sports Season

LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. – While students look forward to summer break as a time to relax, it’s a good idea for athletes to stay active, doing so in a healthy way can help them stay conditioned and prepped when the fall sports season begins.

“Summer is a great time let an athlete’s body rest and recover,” said Abby Kaufman, a licensed athletic trainer with ThedaCare Orthopedics who works with Little Chute High School. “It’s also an opportunity to continue working on the skills developed throughout the year.”

The first thing student athletes should do this summer is schedule their mandatory physicals for next fall’s school sports, said Kaufman. Practices already are coming quickly. The WIAA’s earliest practice for football is August 6, for example.

“For athletes who plan to be in fall sports, it’s important to have that physical done before practices start,” Kaufman said. “Most schools will have policies that you cannot practice if your physical is not complete.”

Parents should call for an appointment now as doctor’s offices have limited dates and times set aside for physicals, she said.

Physicals review an athlete’s personal history and key functions, such as heart health. The sports physical exam is more comprehensive than a typical doctor’s visit for an acute illness or injury. It includes an exam of the throat, teeth, mouth, nose, ears, eyes, skin, abdomen, lungs, heart and the musculoskeletal system.

Staying active

While it’s tempting for kids to kick back and grab the remote in the summer, staying active is important to staying conditioned, Kaufman said.

“When you get to those first couple of days of practice, the body can have a hard time adjusting,” she said. “It can make getting back into the swing of things more difficult.” 

Kids may experience DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, which can create extreme muscle soreness or pain when the body isn’t prepared for a new workout regimen.

“Keeping your body in shape is a good way to avoid it,” she said. “If you know that first day of practice is coming, you should be staying active throughout the summer.”

Most schools offer summer workout programs such as weight lifting or workout classes, and student athletes always can reach out to coaches and trainers for summer workout ideas.

Eating well

Summer also can be a time when kids possibly fall off their regular eating habits. 

“There are a million different recommendations for proper diet,” said Kaufman. “I think there are three really important things that you want to hit: Fruit, veggies and protein.”

She explained, for each meal, about half your plate should be fruits and veggies, and the rest can be protein and carbs.

“Obviously, in Wisconsin a lot of us are from meat-and-potato families, so we can’t just count the carbs,” Kaufman said. “Carbs are essential building blocks of our nutrients. We just need to be aware of what types of carbs we’re eating and how much.”

Summer is also a great time to load up on fresh, healthy, locally grown and inexpensive foods from farmer’s markets.

Staying hydrated

As the temperature rises, so does the need to keep the body hydrated. While the recommendations can vary, active athletes can remember a simple formula: Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. So a 200-pound football player should drink about 100 ounces of water per day while active and training.

“Of course, if you’re new to drinking large amounts of fluid, it might take you and your bladder some time to acclimate,” Kaufman said. “Try gradually building up to the recommended amount.”

About 20 percent of our fluid intake also comes from our foods and other liquids such as milk and tea. For those who struggle with drinking plain tap water, adding limes or lemon wedges can help flavor it up.

Heat and sun

Drinking enough water, however, isn’t enough in hot weather. It’s important for athletes to maintain their body’s natural homeostasis as well.

“You need to remove yourself from that hot environment to allow your body to cool,” said Kaufman. “Being hydrated isn’t always enough.”

Athletes should find a shady spot to step out of the sun for five or 10 minutes to help bring body temperature down, she said.

With Wisconsin’s humidity, even temperatures as low as 80 degrees warrant some caution while exercising.

Student athletes also should remember the sunscreen. Wearing rash guard clothing can help too, and some fabrics are now made with built-in UV protection.

Severe weather conditions

With smart phones almost always within reach, it’s easy to get weather alerts and notifications when a storm is in the forecast.  

“Storms can pop up quickly,” she said. “The basic rule from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association is ‘See it, flee it; hear it, clear it.’”

Basically, it means if you see lightning or hear thunder, it’s time to pack up and find some shelter.

“It’s better to err on the side of caution,” Kaufman said. “It’s important to have a backup plan to take cover to ensure your safety.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.