Doctors Downgrade Summer Heat Worries for Youth Athletes

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – The American Academy of Pediatricians said today that children were just as able to tolerate exercise in hot conditions as adults, but still recommended a range of safety measures to prevent health problems in the summer.

The AAP issued new recommendations today in the latest issue of its official journal, Pediatrics. In many ways the new guidelines for young athletes are less strict than those issued previously by the organization. The old policy, established back in 2000, cited evidence that children had more difficulty adapting to hot conditions during exercise than adults. However, the group now says that children  have “similar physiological responses” as adults when exercising in hot conditions.

As such, the new guidelines no longer dictate that school or athletic officials should cancel games or practices when certain heat conditions are met, as the previous policy did. Rather, conditions should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to study co-author Michael F. Bergeron, director of the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance.

“While coaches should make on-the-field decisions to improve safety for a team or event as a whole, individual participants may require more or less concern based on their health status and conditioning,” said Bergeron in a statement issued by the group.

Despite the less strict policy, the AAP continued to warn of the potential dangers associated with athletic activity in hot conditions. And it made a number of recommendations to minimize that danger, including risk-reduction training for coaches, training staff available for heat emergencies and education for young athletes.

Trying to beat the brutal heat this summer? Here are a few cool-down strategies that might actually wind up doing more harm than good.

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