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7/23/18news article

3 issues sending student athletes to the emergency department

a warning for students, coaches and athletes about summer workouts

Even though it’s only July, student athletes are already practicing for the upcoming school year season.  Unfortunately too many of these teens are ending up in Dayton Children’s emergency department for a few crucial errors.


Warming up in summer heat or after a cool snap means more than just a few minutes of stretching.  If student athletes push themselves too hard, too fast, they can suffer heat stroke – a potentially deadly condition.

“If you spend time in the heat, you need to train your body for the heat,” says Lora Scott, MD, co-director of sports medicine at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “This is separate than the physical training for exercise. Just because you can do something in 70 degree weather doesn’t mean your body is prepared to do the exact same thing in 90 degree weather.

Read Dr. Scott’s blog on acclimatization.


When a student athlete begins working their body harder in practices, they need extra water to replace the sweat they lose.  This can be especially true in hot weather, if the child has not acclimated to the weather or the teen is wearing heavy gear. Dehydration increases the risk of heat stroke.

Student athletes should have water available at all times. Coaches should plan frequent water breaks and encourage drinking water even if the athlete is not thirsty.  Kids should continue to drink water frequently outside of practices, as well.

Read more about dehydration.

Protein powder overload

“We are seeing a disturbing trend of teens coming to the emergency department urinating blood,” says Lisa Schwing, RN, trauma program manager at Dayton Children’s. “Many of these student athletes have been taking protein powder to try to build muscle quickly, but they are unaware of the damage this can do to their kidneys if they don’t drink enough water. These kids can all-to-easily go into renal failure.”

Most teen athletes don’t need protein powder to build their muscles. Studies show that young athletes are already eating two to three times the recommended dietary allowance for protein which is plenty to rebuild muscles stronger after workouts. The body simply flushes the extra protein, but if a teen doesn’t drink enough water, that protein clogs the kidneys.

Read more about protein powder problems.

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Lora Scott, MD

program director sports medicine
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