STUBBY SAYS: Heat Illness is Most Easily Preventable Umpire ConditionJul 3rd, 2012
This article is one of a series of Mark "Stubby" Stubblefield's tips for baseball and softball umpires. Mark is the medical coordinator for Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy (MiLBUTA). These tips came from discussions with Mark and his talk "Common Injuries for Umpires" he gives at MiLBUTA.
Mark sounds like a broken record on this point. It seems like every time I hear him speak or talk to him, he's preaching 8 glasses of water per day. And he always follows it up with "as a baseline".
The baseline comment refers to number of drinks on a normal day. If your perspiring, which means if you're umpiring, especially on a hot day, you are going to need more than eight.
As a caveat, he discusses the diuretic components of coffee, sodas and alcohol. For each one you drink, Mark says you have to have an additional glass of water over the 8 to stay hydrated. (Note: Don't drink alcohol before the game. It is hard enough to umpire as it is.)
Of course, certainly you know you don't wait until game time to become hydrated. Drinking water needs to occur of over the course of the day. For one, thirst is not a guideline for consuming fluids. And two, if you wait until just before it's time to say "Play Ball!", it is probably too late. So drink before, during and after.
Other Tips to Keep You Cool
- Cooling with ice towels. Adding ammonia helps as it allows the water to evaporate faster.
- Electrolyte replacement such as no sugar Pedialyte (not Gatorade or Powerade)
- KoolBlues Umpire Chest Protector Cooling System
- UMPLIFE Ice Towel
Things to Monitor
- Weight loss
- Fluid output including urine and sweat
Your urine should be lighter in color, not darker when you are properly hydrated.
Signs of Heat Illness
- Initial stage (heat cramps) onset of muscle pain that develops during exercise
- Middle Stage (Heat exhaustion) heavy sweating; rapid breathing; and fast, weak pulse
- Last Stage (Life-threatening emergency)
So stay cool while on the field and help your partner with these issues as well.
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About the Author
Medical Coordinator - MiLB Umpire Training Academy Mark Stubblefield
Mark coordinates the preventative care and injury treatment for MiLB Umpire Training Academy students while offering expertise in fitness, nutrition, health and wellness. He currently works with Minor League Baseball umpires throughout the United States and Canada and joined the MiLB staff in February 2011, after a 10-year career as a certified athletic trainer with both the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from Indiana State University in 2000 and a Master’s degree in 2001 from California University of Pennsylvania. The Kansas City, Mo., native is a member of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) and the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).