Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don't Iron While the Strike Is Hot

Its that time of year again (actually, it has been for several weeks now), when your average Ultimate player faces the prospect of play in the HOT HOT HOT sun.

Most Aussies are in the game with regards Slip Slop Slap (but don't forget to help with advice should you come across any new chums from foreign lands) but Ultimate's mad love of all day tournament play can place people in danger of illness and certain doom, in the form of hyponatremia (aka loss of salts). Just ask Cupcake, who apparently ended up in hospital a few weeks back, or the lad back in 2004 who spent three days near in intensive care after a day at Canberra's Dis Kapital tournament.

If we may disgress - three days in intensive care is serious serious shit. You go to intensive care if they think you're going to die. And this guy was fit as - he'd finished a four year stint in the army about 6 months beforehand. And he felt fine, up to collapsing in the car on the way home. Lucky his girlfriend was driving, and lucky they were 5 minutes away from the hospital. It was about 9 months before he got onto an Ultimate field again.

So its important on hot days for organisers and players to do a few things (like I say, aside from the generally understood shade, sunscreen, rest and drinks stuff):

- keep your salt up as you go through the water. Whether you use pricey softdrinks or bags of peanuts and chips.

- check the Bureau of Meteorology's Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) website at the start and during the day. WBGT takes into account temperature, humidity, radiation and wind.

As suggested by Sports Medicine Australia, if the WBGT gets over 26, then change the plan, including shortening games, taking more breaks, bigger rosters, and being more alert about yourself and your team-mates. If the WBGT gets over 30, have a good think about whether to postpone play until a cooler part of the day, or cancel all together.

The AFDA hot weather policy is pretty close to this, providing plenty of Ultimate-specific advice, but this is due for an update, mostly to reflect that many players now carry internet-enabled phones, and are thus able to check WBGT to support more objective decisions about play.

1 comment:

Jesse said...

I have never had such a serious case myself (The Netherlands isn't known for its sun, now is it) but I have been unwell for a day. Unwell meaning I couldn't open my eyes because it felt like my head would explode. All that from a day of volunteering in the sun in the Netherlands...

Playing in Spain this summer was very hot, but having had this experience a couple of years back, I played with SPF 50 on. Just rub it in in the morning before going outside and you don't have to re-apply the entire day.

So yeah, take this advice to heart if you're organizing tournaments and everything. The examples in the post are indeed serious business...