A silent danger to athletes

Runners
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Back to Article

A silent danger to athletes

Runners

Runners

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Runners

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Runners

Nicole Hudack, The Delphi Staff

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It’s not a rare occurence to see on the news. From pools, to oceans, to rivers and lakes, people can drown due to many different circumstances; however, did you know you could drown yourself without even knowing?

Drinking too much water at once can have serious consequences. Hyponatremia is an electrolyte disorder in which a low concentration of sodium is present in the blood. This is common in athletes during intense exercise, but it can happen to anyone. Hyponatremia can be caused by multiple factors, from an underlying medical condition to drinking too much water. These conditions make the sodium in the body become diluted. With Hyponatremia, water levels in the body begin to increase and cause cells to swell. This can be mild, life-threatening, or anything in between.

In August of 2014, Zyrees Oliver, a 17-year-old from Georgia, died from overhydration. During and after his football practice at his high school, Oliver drank two gallons of water and two or more gallons of Gatorade. Later, he collapsed in his house and was transported to a hospital by helicopter. Minor symptoms, including nausea and muscle cramps, can be treated with salty and sodium-filled food and drink. However, more severe symptoms should be treated by qualified, medical personnel.   

Although spring has just begun, sports practices have been running for a few weeks. As the temperature outside increases, so does the need for hydration. When practicing out in the heat, make sure to stay hydrated, but be careful of your water intake. Athletes participating in vigorous exercise should make sure to drink a safe amount of water or sports drink to keep their bodies at a good balance. According to Truesport.org, athletes should drink at least half their body weight in ounces throughout a day. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs, you should be drinking 80 oz of water per day.

Remember, water breaks are important, but don’t overdo it. Keeping your body’s natural sodium levels at bay is crucial to your body’s performance. Spring sports do a great job, so when practicing, don’t hesitate to reach for a Gatorade.