The Heat is On

The Heat is On
Athlete Hydrates

The beginning of the school year marks the end of summer vacations, camping, hiking, and family reunions. It also marks the start of the Fall Season where Football, Volleyball, Soccer, Cross Country, Softball and Tennis all begin their camps and tryouts in hope of constructing a winning team for the season. As exciting as this is for the athletes that are participating, this change in personal activity level accompanied by hot and dry days could be the right mixture for experiencing dehydration and can put even the best-skilled athlete at risk for poor performance and possibly fatal outcomes. Here are a few tips to be better hydrated while practicing and competing in any sport.

As an athlete, one needs to be continuously aware of staying hydrated. Hydration is extremely important for cardiovascular function as well as body temperature regulation and can dictate the level of performance that an athlete can display during practices and competitions. Water is the largest component of the human body. In fact, water accounts for approximately 60% of body weight in the average adult. Water also plays an important role in numerous physiological processes. It functions as a solvent and provides a means of transportation of materials throughout the body. What this means is that water is important for excretion of wastes; blood volume and blood pressure regulation; transport of oxygen and nutrients to the brain and exercising muscles; and water also plays an important role in body temperature regulation by transferring heat out of the body. It is very easy to go through the school day focused on assignments, group projects, tests and quizzes and forget to drink enough beneficial fluid. Beneficial fluid like water and an occasional sports drink like Gatorade, etc. can easily be incorporated into an athlete’s schedule. There is also a high amount of water in fresh fruits and vegetables and incorporating these throughout the day as a snack can also keep unhealthy cravings at bay.

Keeping hydrated throughout the day and during physical activity helps athletes avoid a phenomenon called voluntary dehydration. Voluntary dehydration occurs in a majority of athletes. Research shows that athletes come to practice and competitions in an already dehydrated state and that during practice or competition, they do not rehydrate themselves adequately even when there is fluid available to them during the activity. Research also shows that post–activity, athletes still do not put back adequate amounts of fluid that they lost through sweat during their activity. Because of this, it is very important to develop a proper drinking schedule throughout the day, during practices and competitions and then after activity as well. If an athlete waits to drink until they feel thirsty (physiological thirst), they are already in a dehydrated state. Physiological thirst occurs when either there is a decrease in the amount of water in the blood or by increased plasma osmolality (sodium or glucose particles in the blood). Both of these changes occur during dehydration due to the sweating process. Thirst always comes after fluid needs and therefore needs to be avoided at all times.

Another component that contributes to dehydration during activity is when the athlete has not trained their gut to hold fluids during activity. It is very common for athletes to experience distress when they have fluid in their gut and this discomfort leads to not drinking during activity. It is important for an athlete to train their gut to take in fluids containing sodium, electrolytes, and carbohydrates during activity because these sodium-containing beverages deliver very important components to the body that we lose during the sweating process. If an athlete does not put back sodium, electrolytes, and carbohydrates during activity, an athlete can start to experience decreased performance and spiral into dehydration very quickly.

In summary, athletes need to develop a drinking schedule or pattern throughout the day that trains them to stay hydrated. This drinking pattern also needs to be focused on during activity so that the athlete can replenish the fluid and electrolytes lost during sweating. Athletes should be aware that in order to completely rehydrate after exercise, they will need to drink 24oz. of a moderate sodium/electrolyte drink per pound of body weight lost during exercise. Drinking only water is not sufficient enough post-exercise to rehydrate the body. The sodium in sports drinks help to not only stimulate the thirst response (thus leading to more drinking) but it also helps the absorption of the fluid into the body. Remembering these few tips can help increase an athlete’s performance and prevent them from experiencing the negative effects of dehydration.

 Article by:

David Whitelock,

Athletic Trainer

ThunderRidge High School


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.

In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District's Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Aaron Henderson, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, [email protected], 720-433-1083.

Outside Agencies

Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.


Special Education records which have been collected by Douglas County School District related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of special education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for the period of five (5) years after special education services have ended for the student. Special education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, or completes his/her educational program at age 21, or moves from the district. This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of Douglas County School District's intent to destroy the special education records of students who exited special education services as of June 30, 2016. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. After five years, the records are no longer useful to the district, but may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for social security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may request a copy of the records by requesting the records by email to [email protected]