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Unread 08-09-2011, 04:09 AM   #1
lawump1
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Default A word of precaution

I am in my mid-30's, in "good" physical condition. I'm not overweight, and I do cardio-vascular exercise (treadmill) for 40 minutes a day, five days a week.

Before Thursday, I had a minor league umpire's mentality when it came to heat, which is, to summarize, if you can't deal with the heat get out of the kitchen! Specifically, I admit that I looked down on umpires who would go to the fence between innings and sit on a chair, or lean on the fence with a towel that had been kept in an ice cooler, or do anything other than stand on the foul line (or short right field) between innings. The only thing allowed (in my line of thinking) was to drink water; anything else was un-macho.

This past weekend, I was honored to be selected for my third American Legion regional tournament. I was on the crew for the southeast regional. I had the plate for the first game of the tournament which was played last Thursday at 10 a.m. In the fifth inning, a pitch came in and I saw three baseballs. I was light-headed and close to vomitting. I called my crew chief in and told him I was in trouble.

The next thing I vaguely remember was four EMTs working on me as I was spralled out on our locker room floor. One EMT was yelling that my blood pressure was "very weak" and that he needed an ambulance immediately. I vaguely remember being in the ambulance. I finally started coming around in the emergency room with ice packs on various parts of my body and as I was on my third IV bag.

When I recovered enough to be discharged from the ER later that day, I went back to the stadium and was told that the temperature on the field was 113-degrees when I went down. One of the physicians who had treated me when I went down came and checked on me as I sat in the locker room that evening. What scared me the most is that he had an EMT with him. He said, "I want to introduce you to the man who saved your life." (That's an exact quote) and he proceeded to introduce the EMT. Talk about being scared straight.

The plate umpire in the game after mine called it quits in the sixth inning of his game; he said he was close to passing out. Three players from one team (coincidentially the northern most team in the tournament: Virginia) ended up in the ER, too.

I post this to tell you that the dangers of heat are very real. Again, I am in pretty good shape, I work out regularly, I eat a very good diet (thanks to my wife who makes healthy foods taste good), but I still went down. Please, please, please take all of the precautions that the experts suggest: drink fluids for days in advance of the time that you know you will be working in the heat, get drinks and ice towels between innings, and most of all, if you begin to feel yourself "going" because of the heat, "Don't try to be a hero!"

I learned my lesson. I actually recovered very quickly, and actually got selected to work the plate for the regional final played earlier tonight. Game time temperature for the final was 101...with a higher heat index. I had learned my lesson, though. I consumed large amounts of water/gatorade all weekend long, I drank water after every half inning and I used the iced towel every half inning. Now, I'm back home and able to type this warning.

Please don't laugh at the heat. (Especially during this summer of extreme heat across the country). Take precautions. Take it from someone who learned the hard way.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 04:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: A word of precaution

Thanks for that, lawump.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 04:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: A word of precaution

I have not been to that degree, but I did almost collapse due to dehydration. I was working a game that went into extras, my partner had to leave due to a previously scheduled appointment (that would not have been a problem except the game got started late because the prior game went over, and we went 2 extra innings.)

I discovered one major thing that day... water is not enough on those hot humid days. That is when I started drinking gatorade.. I have noticed a huge difference in how my body reacts when using water vs gatorade.

Now, I live where the temps are even higher, but the humidity is nearly non-existant (desert conditions)... still need the gatorade, cause it is more difficult to feel the dehydration effects with little humidity, until you are in trouble.

I have learned that lesson myself, though not to the degree you did.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: A word of precaution

Sunday night, Paul Nauert had to leave the Cubs/Reds game for the same thing. I started tuning in in the 6th inning, and you could tell he was not doing well. Taking his mask off after EVERY pitch, hands on hips, dropped down to a knee for a pitch or two...

As a Firefighter/Paramedic in my full time job, the heat is serious. I've had heat stroke patients on 80 degree days even - that humidity can be a bigger killer than the heat!

Stay safe!
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Unread 08-09-2011, 02:19 PM   #5
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Default A word of precaution

Did a tournament this weekend, 13 games, and lawump1 is correct. Every inning, I drank either a bottle of water, not a cup, or a Gatorade/Powerade. What works best for me is to alternate the water and sports drinks.

I highly recommend the ice towels around the back of the neck. When I was doing the plate, I would leave mine on during the game and just dip it in the ice water during each half-inning. If you are in the field, turn your collar up to help keep the sun off of the back and sides of your neck.

Here are some other things that work:
Dip your hat in cold water. Try not dip the bill or you will have water dripping off of it during the game in your field of vision.
Try to get out of the sun during the half inning and take your cap off. You will be surprised how much you will cool off without your cap on. You can also put an ice water towel on your head during the half inning.
Pour ice water or put crushed ice down the inside of your chest protector. You will be surprised as to how well this will cool you off.
Use sunscreen. Your arms will still feel like they are roasting but you won't have the sunburn to deal with.

Eat small snacks between games and not a large amount of food. Between games, try to take your chest protector off, it will help you cool off. If you are working multiple games, try to split the plate with your co-official, two on, two off.

We have had over 55 days of 100 plus heat since the middle of June. One of the teams brought an evaporative cooler into the dugout to help keep their players cool. The coaches and dugouts here are great about trying to keep you cool.

Above all, if you start to feel the signs of heat exhaustion, get help quick, don't try to man it out. You will be sorry if you don't.

I'm stepping off of my soapbox now.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 03:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: A word of precaution

Guys, thanks for posting your stories. I had a close call last summer too. Fortunately I was able to cool off very quickly and made a full recovery.

With all due respect, with that you stated about being aware and respectful of the heat, may I ask why you chose to work 13 baseball games on a super-hot weekend?

13 games seems a little excessive.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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Default A word of precaution

Kick-Off Tournament for Fall Ball.

If I'm going to work 2 or 3, I would rather work all day. Also, pocket money is nice.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 04:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: A word of precaution

Do you find that it affects your performance?
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Unread 08-09-2011, 05:28 PM   #9
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Default A word of precaution

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyg08 View Post
Do you find that it affects your performance?
Not if you prepare prior to the game like lawump1 said and take care of yourself during the day. I have been doing games in the Texas weather since HS scrimmages in February so I am somewhat aclimated to the heat. If I wasn't used to it, I wouldn't be able to more than 2 a day.

The shower at the end of the day feels WONDERFUL.

Texas is in the middle of an extreme drought, so the humidity is a lot lower this year than usual. Sometimes the humidity is harder than the heat because you don't cool off from evaporation. Cajunyankee can attest to that.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 05:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: A word of precaution

Quote:
Originally Posted by nopachunts View Post
Sometimes the humidity is harder than the heat because you don't cool off from evaporation.

AHA! I didn't know the reason why the humidity was such a factor until just now!
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Unread 08-09-2011, 06:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: A word of precaution

One other thing about heat-related illness that has not been mentioned is that it has a cumulative affect. If you are working a weekend tournament and you feel fine after day 1, you need to prepare yourself extra for the next day and day after that. Heat-related illness is also like frost-bite (for those in states where it gets really cold in the winter) once you suffer from it once, you are more susceptible to it.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 06:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: A word of precaution

Worst I've ever had it in my life was in South Carolina. 1 pm game. 108 heat index. 17 innings behind the plate. By the 8th I was chugging bottles of gatorade between innings, and I couldn't keep up with my hydration. I was ill, felt light headed, and I some how didn't go down. Not sure how.

Drink PLENTY of water during the day. Always. Drink as much water as you need between innings. Amonia towels are very helpful.

Don't take hydration lightly!
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Unread 08-09-2011, 08:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: A word of precaution

I did Legion Zone.

15 games in 7 days. 13 of them in 100+ degree weather with 110+ heat index.

The next week I did Legion AA State Tourney. I did 12 games in 4 days in the same weather.


I DIDN'T CARE HOW STUPID OR RIDICULOUS IT LOOKED. I took a cooler with 4 large Powerades, 2 wet towels, all in ice water. I drank at least 1 1/2 of the Powerades every game.

As bnump stated, this doesn't happen in one day or in one game. This is a cumulative effect. Just drinking enough to be "comfortable" is NOT enough.

Here is another tip: If you are running tight game sets, get some GLUCOSE tablets for a quick energy boost in case your blood sugar bottoms out.
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