WVATA announces hydration recommendations during COVID-19


HUNTINGTON — The West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (WVATA) is reminding student-athletes, parents, and coaches of the importance of hydration during the start of fall sports following COVID-19 protocol modifications.

According to a press release from the WVATA, with COVID-19 stipulations in place regarding single-use water bottles and watering stations, coaches, parents, and student-athletes must be made aware that proper hydration plays a key role in student-athlete safety. Proper fluid intake during exercise is 8-10 oz. of water or electrolyte beverage every 10 to 20 minutes, which amounts to 60-180 oz. of fluid during a single event.

“Athletes need to realize that hydration starts hours before any activity is performed. At the very minimum, athletes should drink 20 oz. of water or electrolyte beverage two hours before activity, 20 ounces of water or electrolyte beverage prior to activity, and have multiple water breaks during activity. During Covid-19, most schools are asking their athletes to bring enough water to get them through a 2-3 hour training sessions. It is extremely important, especially in hot and humid weather, that kids have enough fluids to get them these strenuous training sessions,” said Tom Belmaggio MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, WVATA president-elect.

The press release further stated, ensuring an athlete has access to the necessary levels of fluid can be tricky in the world of COVID-19. Without proper fluid intake, dehydration can occur. Dehydration can lead to many issues, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Heatstroke, which can cause death, is a medical emergency, and 911 must be called immediately. A person who is exhibiting signs of heatstroke must be cooled right away, and core body temperature must be down to 101 degrees before transporting to the hospital. Signs of heatstroke include flushed skin, lack of sweating, and/or altered mental state. Heatstroke is 100 percent preventable and steps, such as altering practice to cooler times of the day, insuring proper hydration with appropriate water breaks, and properly acclimatizing.

“Frequent water breaks and access to cool fluids are extremely important to promote good hydration in hot weather. If proper access to fluids during exercise in the heat is not possible due to COVID-19 concerns, athletic practices or games should be modified or canceled. In our secondary school and youth sports, access to qualified health care personnel such as a licensed athletic trainer is extremely limited. It is important for coaches, parents, and student-athletes to be educated on how to prevent heat illnesses. If your school or team does not have a licensed athletic trainer, coaches and parents need to monitor their student-athletes pre-practice body mass, urine concentration (color), and thirst for signs/symptoms of dehydration,” said Zach Garrett DHSc, LAT, ATC, WVATA president.

For further information about COVID-19 Return-to-Sport recommendations, please visit: https://ksi.uconn.edu/covid-19-return-to-activity/

Information submitted on behalf of the WVATA by Dr. Suzanne Konz, PhD, LAT, ATC, CSCS, WVATA secretary.