Sports don't stop just because the weather turns cold. In fact, many outdoor teams start practice during the late winter or early spring. During these times, there are still plenty cold temperatures around. There is also plenty of risk exposure that could cause players harm or injuries. What can you do during the colder months to keep your players safe and healthy?
Risks Posed by Cold
The weather might change suddenly during the late winter and early spring. If your team will play during these times, a few health and safety risks might beckon. Among these are:
- Risk of sun exposure. Even during the winter, the sun can still cause harm. Sunburn and even heat stroke can still beckon in certain circumstances.
- Cold exposure risks. Temperatures might plummet quickly, particularly during the early morning or late afternoon. Risks of hypothermia, frostbite or more might occur if players don't have insulation.
- Dehydration risks. Even in colder temperatures, the body still needs to maintain proper fluid levels. Colder temperatures can cause dehydration.
As always, standard sports injury risks will beckon. They might include concussion, breaks and sprains, spinal injury risks and more. Always observe standard safety regulations at all times.
What Can You Do About It?
During the winter, you'll have to probably take a few safety precautions to keep your team safe. Generally, these relate to the exposure risks players face in colder environments.
- Insulation is key. Players should wear weather- and temperature-appropriate clothing. For example, insulated undergarments, head covers and eyewear might all become added necessities.
- Sunburn is not just a summertime risk. If the sun is out, make sure players use sunscreen.
- Require hydration with either water or electrolyte-rich beverages. In some cases, you can even provide hot drinks for players.
- Provide warming materials, as appropriate. You might provide blankets, portable heaters or even heating packs for players.
- If players begin to show signs of hypothermia, help them immediately. Remove them from the field. Move them to a warm area, and add insulation to help them warm up. Your goal should be to gradually warm the affected person, rather than provide an immediate burst of heat. Signs of hypothermia might include shivering, chattering teeth, faintness, a low pulse and discoloration of the skin.
If someone does get hurt in the course of play, your sports liability or medical insurance might help you assist the patient. However, it's your priority to prevent such problems in the first place. Don't hesitate to safeguard your team in every possible way.