Am I Getting Dehydrated When I Play Sports?

Published: September 11, 2013
Dear Am I Getting Dehydrated When I Play Sports?,

I do a lot of sports and sometimes I wonder if I'm getting dehydrated. What can I do to stop this from happening? Where I live is pretty warm, so I don't know if that makes it worse.

Dear Am I Getting Dehydrated When I Play Sports?,

Becoming dehydrated can definitely be a problem for athletes – especially those practicing and competing in areas where the weather is hot or humid.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following information on dehydration and youth sports:

Signs of dehydration can include:

  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Thirst
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Excessive fatigue

There are several things you can do to avoid becoming dehydrated:

  • When starting up sports gradually increase the amount of activity and the amount of protective equipment being used in practices (as long as safety is compromised) until you are ore used to hot or humid weather.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before practice and during – even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Wear light and loose-fitting clothing.
  • If you start feeling ill or notice any of the symptoms listed above, stop what you are doing and take a break in the shade with some water. Be sure to let your coach know immediately if you are feeling sick in any way.  
  • If it is a particularly hot day, it would be best to keep practices indoors or in the shade – or cancel them altogether if the temperatures are dangerously hot.

If you have any further questions or concerns about this, speak to your parents, coach and/or doctor. If you find you continually deal with symptoms of dehydration despite taking preventative measures, speak to your coach and doctor. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.