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Environmental Conditions


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Environmental Conditions


Environmental conditions can significantly impact player health and safety. Extreme temperatures, severe weather and the integrity of the playing field and its equipment all impact players’ ability to practice and compete safely. U.S. Soccer’s Recognize to Recover program gives players, parents, coaches and referees information and guidelines to make sure the desire to play does not cloud the decision-making process when it comes to evaluating environmental conditions to ensure the safety of those on the field.

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Heat & Hydration


Heat & Hydration


Extreme heat can impact players' health and safe play. Proper hydration and knowing when you need to drink are critical, to help prevent many injuries and illnesses, from muscle cramps to heat stroke. Players should drink water before, during and after a game or practice, which means coaches should make sure there is adequate water available. U.S. Soccer’s Recognize to Recover program gives players, parents, coaches and referees information and guidelines to make sure the desire to play does not cloud the decision-making process when it comes to evaluating environmental conditions to ensure the safety of those on the field.

RECOVER

  • Add hydration breaks
  • Shorten practice
  • Practice early or late in the day when temperatures are lower
  • Use less-strenuous training activities during practice

RECOGNIZE

Thirst is a warning that your body is already in an early stage of dehydration. Drink when you are thirsty. Recognizing the signs of dehydration are important because the amount of water required will vary from player to player.

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

 

Heat Guidelines Contributors: Korey Stringer Institute and Dr. George Chiampas
C
old Weather Guidelines Contributors: Athletico, Korey Stringer Institute and Dr. George Chiampas

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Lightning & Severe Weather


Lightning & Severe Weather


Lightning is one of the top ten causes of sudden death in sport.1 As the majority of soccer is played outdoors, lightning and severe weather pose a threat to player health and safety. U.S. Soccer’s Recognize to Recover program, with the help of the Korey Stringer Institute, provides these guidelines for responding quickly and safely when lightning and severe weather threaten practice or a game. When it comes to making decisions to suspend or cancel play due to weather condition, coaches, officials, athletic trainers and administrators all share responsibility. These same individuals should be aware of close safe shelter locations and know how to evaluate when it is safe to resume play after severe weather leaves an area.

1. Casa DJ, Guskiewicz KM, Anderson SA, et al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Preventing Sudden Death in Sports. J Athl Train. 2012;47(1):96-118.

RECOVER

If someone is injured by a lightning strike, follow these emergency management steps:

  • Call 911 and alert emergency medical responders (EMS).
  • Establish that the area is safe before moving to help victim. If there is more than one victim, first assist those who appear in the most severe condition.
  • Move individual(s) carefully to a safe location (victims of lightning strikes are safe to touch and do not carry an electric charge).
  • Initiate CPR on victims who are unconscious, not breathing or have no pulse. Use an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available.
  • Evaluate the individual(s) for additional injuries, such as broken bones or dislocations. Notify EMS of the potential injuries when they arrive on the scene.

 

Under no circumstances should a player injured in a lightning strike return to the game or practice. Injured players should only be allowed to return to play after a thorough examination and release by a qualified physician.

RECOGNIZE

  • No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. All activity should be suspended, even if lightning or thunder has not yet been observed, and everyone should get indoors. Communicate this information completely and quickly to all participants.
  • Consult the National Weather Service, the Storm Prediction Center or local media outlets for severe weather watches and warnings. Alerts can even be sent directly to your mobile device while you are on the field.
  • Safe locations should be available with enough capacity to hold all who may need safe shelter. A primary location would be a fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing. A fully enclosed vehicle with a solid metal roof, like a school bus, would be a safe secondary option. Open fields and open-sided shelters are not safe. If there are no adequate safe shelters close to the field, play must be stopped well in advance of the storm to allow everyone to travel to a safe place or their home.
  • If it’s been half an hour since thunder, it’s safe to go outdoors. Outdoor activity may resume 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder or flash of lightning. The 30-minute clock restarts every time lightning flashes or thunder sounds.

Warning signs of a lightning strike:

  • Feeling the hair stand on end
  • Skin tingling
  • Hearing crackling noises

If these occur, assume the lightning safe position:

  • Crouch on the ground as low as you can
  • Put all your weight on the balls of your feet
  • Keep your feet together
  • Lower head and cover your ears
  • Do not lie flat on the ground
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Field Conditions


Field Conditions


Field conditions vary from location to location, but safety practices are the same. There may be hazards on the field that need attention before safe play can begin.

RECOVER

  • If hazards remain, play should be suspended or moved to a different location.
  • Know your goal: There are 500,000 soccer goals across the United States in many shapes and sizes, each with specific safe anchoring guidelines. Anchor your goal correctly.

RECOGNIZE

  • Trash and debris, including rocks, should be removed from the field.
  • Make players aware of inconsistent surface conditions, such as uneven edges or bumps.
  • Soccer goals should be properly anchored with weights or posts to prevent tipping forward.
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CDC Resources for Healthy Travel


CDC Resources for Healthy Travel


Millions of U.S. residents travel internationally each year (more than 68.2 million trips in 2014!). We travel for a variety of reasons – for work, for relaxation, to visit friends and relatives, and to explore new cultures. As a U.S. Soccer player, coach, family member or referee, you may find yourself traveling overseas for a match or tournament. While an illness or injury could ruin anyone’s trip abroad, for you it may mean the difference between a win and a loss. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides up-to-date recommendations for safe and healthy international travel. CDC also provides important country-specific health information, including the latest notices on events and outbreaks happening around the world.

You can use the Travelers’ Health page on the CDC website as a go-to resource:

For more information, visit CDC Travelers’ Health.

View the CDC's current list of worldwide health notices.

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Zika Virus


Zika Virus


As Zika virus is reported in new areas, it is important for international travelers to be aware and know how to protect themselves. Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, and sexual transmission from a male partner is also possible. CDC has tips for travelers to protect themselves from Zika. 

Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. Among those who do get sick, the illness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, so CDC recommends special travel precautions for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. 

In rare cases, Zika virus has been known to cause Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a disorder that can cause muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis for a few weeks to several months. GBS is likely triggered by Zika virus in a small proportion of infections, much as it is after a variety of other infections. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent damage.

Check CDC’s website frequently (including before your trip) for the most up-to-date information.