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Youth Sports Hydration Guidelines

Surprising as it may seem the most important part of an athlete's diet isn't what he eats, it is what and how much he drinks. Hydration before, during and after exercise is especially important for pre-adolescent children because they have special fluid needs compared to adults, or even teenagers. As a parent or coach, here are the precautions you should take to prevent heat illnesses in exercising children and making sure they drink enough fluids.

SmartTeams™ Talk: Preventing Heat Illness - Three Tips for Parents

Make fluids readily available at games and practices, pay extra attention to hydration in high heat and humidity, and have an action plan in place if heat illness suspected, says Dr. Jim MacDonald, a pediatric sports medicine physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

SmartTeams™ Talks: Best Drink For Sports Hydration? Mostly Just A Matter of Taste

The consensus of experts is that any tasty drink works for sports hydration unless it is forbidden (e.g. energy drinks, coffee or tea), including room temperature or ice water, or sports drinks, says Dr. Jim MacDonald, a pediatric sports medicine physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

SmartTeams™ Talk: Urine Color Good Indicator of Child's Hydration Status, Especially Useful For Younger Kids

The younger a child is the less likely they are to drink to thirst, says pediatric sports medicine doctor, Jim MacDonald of Nationwide Children's Hospital. Urine color gives parents a good idea of their hydration status.

Drinking On A Schedule Not The Same As Encouraging Young Athletes To Over-Drink, Experts Say

A recent article in the New York Times expresses one expert's concern that coaches and parents who press young athletes to drink fluids before, during, and after a practice, whether the athletes feel thirsty or not, may be putting young athletes at risk of drinking too much water, which can result in a dangerous, life-threatening condition called hyponatremia. We wondered what other experts felt about the article's advice, so we asked three of our go-to hydration experts for their thoughts.

Saying Most Kids Aren't Dehydrated Not The Same As Saying Dehydration Not A Concern For Youth Athletes

It may be a myth that people need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, and that most kids are dehydrated, but, says a sports hydration expert, that isn't the same as saying dehydration isn't a concern for kids playing sports.

Texas Youth Football Program: Ten Ways It Is Walking The Talk On Safety

Participation in youth sports in general, and in youth football in particular, is on the decline in some parts of the nation.  One of the biggest factors driving the decline is a concern about injuries. 

Lots of youth sports programs say they want to improve safety, but how many are actually making the effort to implement best health and safety practices?

Lots of youth sports programs say they want to improve safety, but how many are actually making the effort to implement best health and safety practices? I can't speak for every program, but I know one that is definitely walking the talk: the youth tackle and flag football and cheer program in Grand Prairie, Texas, where I spent the first week of August educating and training kids, parents, coaches, and administrators on ways to make football safer as part of MomsTEAM Institute's SmartTeams| UNICEF International Safeguards of Children in Sports project.

SmartTeams Talk: Enacting Pro-Active Policies To Prevent Sudden Death in Youth Sports Is Challenging, Says UConn's Casa

The leading expert on sudden death of youth athletes argues that youth sports safety policies need to be developed and implemented by sports medicine professionals, not athletic administrators, and notes that the level of risk of catastrophic sports injury often depends on how a state athletic association responds to the death of athletes in their states.

Practicing Football In Hot Weather: Ten Recommendations and Precautions

The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury (NCCSI) suggests that when football activity is carried on in hot weather ten precautions be taken to minimize the risk of heat illness.

NATA Releases Executive Summary Of Revised Exertional Heat Illness Position Statement

NATA has released an executive summary of a new position statement on exertional heat illnesses revising its 2002 statement to reflect new research and expert consensus.
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