It’s that time of year again, time to load up on peanuts and Cracker Jacks and head out to the ballfield. Springtime is considered perfect for baseball and softball because of the mild temps and sunny skies. But as we Mississippians know well, spring can feel more like summertime in the South.
Between these hotter temps and direct exposure to sunlight, the risks for dehydration and even heat stroke increase considerably. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to keep your young athletes and yourself safe at the ballfield.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Sports drinks are fine to consume during and right after a game, but water should always be the go-to drink for hydration. Players should drink at least 8 ounces of water 1-2 hours before a game and repeat again 15 minutes before game time. During the game, players should drink 5 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Players should then drink 24 ounces of water within 2 hours following the game for every pound lost due to sweat and activity. Each player should have one cooler of water with them for each game.
Eat Salty Snacks
Keep healthy snacks with a little bit of salt in them handy during games. Athletes should consume a small snack throughout the game to help with hydration. Players who drink water without eating are still at risk for dehydration. Water-dense fruits and vegetables are great options for snacks. In fact, watermelon slices with a sprinkle of salt sound like the perfect treat!
Make or Buy Cooling Cloths
Mix one bottle of Spirits of Ammonia with ice and one gallon of water and then soak washcloths in the mixture to make cooling cloths. You can also purchase and use Frogg Togg towels in this mixture to keep players cool throughout games. Frogg Toggs and similar products are towels or cloths specially made to stay cool when soaked in water or ammonia water. Ammonia water tends to stay cooler longer than straight water.
Use Personal Misters and Dugout Fans
You can purchase battery-operated personal misters and small fans at just about any major grocery and home goods retailer. These items help keep you cool and refrain from sweating.
Stay Out of the Sun and Remove Hats
Hats retain heat so ask your kids to remove their hats in the dugout to help keep them cool. Players should also stay in the shelter of the dugout as much as possible to keep out of the sun. Parents and other game watchers should also use small tents or umbrellas to stay shaded during the game.