Concussions

East Lake Eagles Youth Football is concerned with player safety.

We offer these publications to help keep you informed and identify any safety issues or concerns:

Heads Up Concussion information from the CDC – Click Here for English Version

Informacion sobre la Conmocion Cerebral del departamento del CDC – Oprima Aqui para la Version en Espanol

Football Injury Prevention Program – Click Here for more information

Field Safety Plan

Lightning Prediction System
The East Lake Youth Sports Complex is very fortunate to have a Thor Guard Lightning Prediction System located on the roof of the Football concession. The system measures amospheric conditions and predicts lightning strike probabilities. A 15 second horn blast will sound if the system determines that there is a greater than 90% probability that lightning will strike within 2 miles of the complex in the next 20 minutes. When this happens, seek shelter immediately.  Players will follow Coaches to a designated shelter.

Shelters include:
The Eagles Nest
The Field House
The Concession Pavillion
The Eagles Portable
The Eagles Equipment Portable
Inside Vehicles

A strobe light on the roof will flash continuously as long as there is a danger of lightning. When the danger has passed, the horn will blast 3 times and the strobe will turn off.

Heat Mitigation Tank
East Lake Football & Cheer has a cooling tank available in the event of a player exhibiting heat distress.  The tank is located in the downstairs area of the Eagles nest.

Avoiding Injuries

Information obtained from the Dental Care Alliance – http://www.dentalcarealliance.net/

Sprains and Strains

Both sprains and strains are common injuries for individuals who participate in sports. A sprain is best-described as a trauma or injury to ligaments. The injury is caused when a ligament is over or improperly stretched. Often, this occurs as a result of a fall or if a part of the body such as an ankle is twisted. Strains are stretched or torn tendons or muscle fibers and they are frequently a result of overuse or overstretching. These injuries affect the body by causing varying degrees of pain and swelling. In more severe cases, they can affect a person’s ability to move and may cause damage to nerves and surrounding tissue. If someone suffers from a sprain or strain they should stop the activity that caused the injury and rest the area in question by restricting activity for 48 to 72 hours. In addition, one should use ice packs approximately every 60 to 90 minutes for roughly 15 minutes at a time. The area should also be wrapped in an elastic compress bandage and elevated whenever possible. A doctor’s care should be sought if the injury worsens within the first 24 hours, if function does not return in full, or if the swelling or pain does not diminish. It is possible to avoid these types of injuries with regular conditioning workouts for improved strength, by performing proper warm-up routines prior to strenuous activities, and by using supportive footwear.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are varied and, depending on the injury, can affect the bone, ligaments, tendons, or cartilage. These injuries can be tears, fractures, dislocation, or inflammation and can cause a person to suffer from pain, swelling, and immobility. In the long-run, particularly if not properly treated, they may affect the body by causing chronic pain, knee instability, a higher risk of arthritis, and damage to tissue. Injuries are often caused by stress, twisting, or a trauma. Common injuries to the knee include injuries to the medial cruciate ligament (MCL), the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Meniscal cartilage tears, bursitis, dislocated kneecap, and Iliotibial band syndrome. Knee injuries often happen as a result of an accident; however, an individual can take steps to avoid these accidents by wearing the proper footwear for the sport or activity that they are participating in. In addition, warm-ups, strengthening training, and watching one’s form during certain activities can also reduce the risk of knee injuries. If one injures their knee they should see a doctor to determine the exact type of injury and prevent further damage and receive specific care instructions. Initially, the individual should control the swelling by taking weight off of the knee, resting it, applying ice to the area, and by using a compress wrap. The knee should also be elevated when possible.

Swollen Muscles

Swollen muscles are a symptom caused by a wide range of potential problems. When an injury occurs, the body often responds with swelling, which can be described as an abnormal enlargement of the muscle. This is typically caused by fluid build-up in the muscle tissue. It may be associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), muscle strains, overuse, myositis, or other conditions or injuries. Swelling, if untreated, can affect the body not only by causing pain, but it can affect the arteries and veins, decrease blood circulation and diminish muscle elasticity. It may cause scarring of the tissue, increase one’s risk of infection and, depending on its location, it can make it difficult for a person to walk. Self-care depends on the cause of the swelling and one should ideally speak with their doctor to confirm the best way to manage it. Often, elevating a swollen appendage to a level higher than one’s heart may help to decrease the swelling and wearing compression sleeves or stockings may also prove helpful. To avoid or reduce the risk of sport-related muscle swelling the individual should stretch and perform warm-up exercises before engaging in strenuous activities and properly cooling down when finished. It is also important to understand and use proper technique when engaging in sports.

Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that reaches from the heel to the calf. This, the largest tendon in the body, allows a person to perform actions such as pointing their toes. Achilles tendinitis is a type of overuse injury that is common in people who play tennis or basketball or who are runners. Other injuries include ruptures and tears, which can be caused by overly vigorous activity, tight tendons, prematurely increasing the intensity of physical activity and from severe cases of Achilles tendinitis. If not properly treated injuries can result in complications such an infection, severe pain, difficulty walking, and heel or tendon deformity. Rest, ice, and elastic bandage compressions are just a few of the ways that one can take care of themselves if they have this type of injury. To reduce the risk of stretching the tendon further, a person may be advised to wear a heel lift in their shoe. Ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to manage the pain of minor or moderate injuries. Individuals should always follow the care instructions that are given by a doctor, which may include strengthening exercises. This type of injury can potentially be prevented by wearing properly fitting and supportive shoes, slowly increasing the intensity of one’s workout, and discontinuing the strenuous activity if there is a tight or painful sensation in the calf or heel. People may also potentially avoid an Achilles tendon injury by reducing how often or far they run uphill.

Pain Along the Shin Bone

The lower half of the leg consists of two bones. The largest of these is called the tibia or the shin. Shin pain may be caused by too much exercise, softer bones, and even the way in which a person’s body moves. Injuries that commonly cause pain along this bone include stress fractures, compartment syndrome, and shin splints. Shin pain, depending on its cause, may be localized and sharp or it may feel like an ache. Problems that may arise alongside shin pain may include a decrease in sensation, bleeding, severe and uncontrolled pain, or even paralysis. In efforts to prevent shin splints and other injuries that cause pain one should take steps such as gradually increasing the intensity of activities and by wearing appropriate footwear. Shoe inserts that provide cushion or help with flat feet may also prove helpful. A person who has shin pain may reduce inflammation with the application of ice packs or with anti-inflammatory medications. Taking a rest from participating in exercise and strenuous activity is often also necessary. Because there are different reasons why one may suffer from this type of pain, it is important to visit a doctor for specific care.

Fractures

Fractures are partial or complete bone breaks that may be open or closed. They are generally caused by overuse or repetitive motion, weak bones, or by some form of impact, the force of which will affect the severity of the fracture. Fractures negatively affect the body by causing pain, swelling, and deformity. Depending on the type and severity of the fracture it may cause infection of the bone, damage to blood vessels and blood loss to the limb. If not treated the bone may heal improperly and result in a loss of function. Depending on the location of the broken bone it could cause difficulty breathing or even result in the loss of a limb or an eye, for example. If a bone is fractured, the right at-home care following surgery or treatment is important. This generally involves wearing a cast that hinders movement of the broken area. To avoid bone fractures, taking calcium and eating a healthy diet can help strengthen bones as can exercising with weights. When participating in sports, people should wear protective gear that is appropriate for the activity and follow general safety rules. Sports injuries can also cause a tooth fracture. In this case, care should be sought from a dentist who provides an excellent level of care with the help of a dental support organization.

Dislocations

When a joint is forced out of position by an injury is called a dislocation. Dislocations frequently occur in shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and even fingers. A dislocation typically cannot easily be moved, is deformed, and painful. Complications from a dislocation include damage to blood vessels and nerves, an increased risk of arthritis over time, and torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments. One may also suffer from repeated dislocations in the future. A person who has a dislocated joint can care for the injury by first seeking medical care. Once treated, the joint should be rested and pain managed with over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen. For the first two days the area should be iced to reduce inflammation with ice packs applied for approximately 15 minutes every two hours. After three days the muscles may feel sore and tight. A heat pad applied to the area for roughly 20 minutes may help bring relief. Stiffness may also be relieved by gentle movements of the injured joint. To avoid injury, one should wear protective gear while participating in sports. Exercises to improve strength may also help reduce one’s chances of reoccurring dislocations.

Nutrition & Hydration

Dehydration

Dehydration during practices in Florida is a serious concern in youth sports programs. Our coaches are all trained on the dangers of dehydration and how the recognize the associated signs. They also get additional training from the league. Water breaks are given at least every 20 minutes during exceptionally hot weather and any player who complains of problems is taken seriously. In other words, we do not take the old “tough it up and get out there” attitude especially with the younger boys. Coaches also stress the importance of drinking during breaks even if the player is not thirsty. Our board of directors is on constant watch during exceptionally hot practices for signs of trouble. We want parents to know that East Lake Youth Football and Cheerleading takes this issue very seriously. The safety of the children is most important.

Here are a few things parents can do to help prevent dehydration during hot weather:

  1. Make sure you child is well hydrated before practice. This may include your child drinking a sports drink or water an hour or two before practice.
  2. Make sure your child has plenty of water during practice. One 16 ounce bottle of water is not nearly enough for most boys or girls during practice. We recommend a large jug that they can bring to practice.
  3. Please reinforce that your child should drink water every time they get a break even if they do not feel thirsty. A player cannot get too much water during practice in this heat.
  4. Check your child’s urine before and/or after practice. As uncomfortable as this may sound, dark colored urine is a sign of dehydration.
  5. If your child is sick, do not send them to practice especially if they have diarrhea.

For more information, there are numerous good web sites on this topic. Type in “youth sports/dehydration” into any search engine.

American College of Sports Medicine: Fluid Replacement

The primary objective for replacing body water loss during exercise is to maintain normal hydration. To minimize risk of heat injury and impairment of exercise performance during exercise, water intake should attempt to equal fluid loss. At equal exercise intensity, the requirement for fluid replacement becomes greater with increased sweating during environmental heat stress.

To minimize the potential for thermal injury, it is advocated that water losses due to sweating during exercise be replaced at a rate equal to the sweat rate. Inadequate water intake can lead to premature exhaustion. During exercise, humans do not typically drink as much water as they sweat and, at best, voluntary drinking only replaces about two-thirds of the body water lost as sweat.

ACSM concludes it would be premature to recommend drinking something other than water during exercise lasting less than 1 hour. However, during intense exercise lasting longer than 1 hour, a sports drink containing carbohydrates can delay the onset of fatigue.

In addition, ACSM concludes that there is little physiological basis for the presence of sodium in an oral rehydration solution (for example, sports drink) for enhancing intestinal water absorption as long as sodium is sufficiently available in the gut from the previous meal.

A primary rationale for electrolyte supplements in sports drinks is to replace electrolytes lost from sweating during exercise greater than 4-5 h in duration.

However, if the presence of sodium enhances palatability, then ACSM find that its presence in a replacement solution may be justified because drinking can be maximized by improving taste qualities of the ingested fluid.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also found that children might be more likely to drink a flavored sports drink over water. Even though most children wouldn’t need the sports drink for their intended purpose, electrolyte replacement, sports drinks may encourage young athletes to increase fluid intake and stay hydrated.

Keep Energy High with Proper Diet, Hydration

As football season begins for youth athletes, it’s important for them to take care of their bodies before, during and after physical activity. Drinking the right fluids and eating the right foods is the best way for athletes to stay energized and hydrated. Oftentimes, however, kids and their parents aren’t aware of what’s really best to eat and drink during football season.

Kim Schwabenbauer is the Corporate Dietitian for Super Bakery and a member of USA Football’s Health and Safety Committee. She said an important thing for parents of athletes ages 7 to 14 to be mindful of is proper fluid intake.

“I would say my first tip would be to drink two cups or 16 ounces of water about two hours prior to practice or prior to a game,” Schwabenbauer said. “You do need to have water within your system because you are going to be sweating quite profusely whenever it’s this hot in the fall.”

Schwabenbauer also mentioned drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade for physical activity lasting longer than one hour.

“In practices or games that are lasting over an hour, they do want to consider consuming an electrolyte beverage – meaning something that has sodium and potassium,” she said. “The kids don’t necessarily need them in the first hour, but they do need them from an hour on.”
Youth athletes should also have a different diet from youths not involved in sports. Given their higher level of physical activity, youth athletes should also have a slightly higher calorie intake to stay energized.

“They are expending energy and therefore calories are being burned through activity, so their activity rate is higher so they need higher calories,” Schwabenbauer said. “At the same time, the makeup of the diet would also be different in that the carbohydrate portion of the diet needs to be a higher proportion.”

Schwabenbauer said 60 to 65 percent of the child’s diet should be complex carbohydrates, meaning those that contain fiber and whole grains. Carbohydrates are the main fuel source during activity, making it important for kids to eat carbohydrates at every meal.

Two or three hours before a game, Schwabenbauer suggests kids eat a snack or small meal. Kids don’t need to eat anything during a game as much as they need to take proper fluids.

“All they really have to consume during the actual game would be water for the first hour and then an electrolyte beverage after that,” she said. “In excessive heat, I would say an electrolyte beverage for the first hour.”

Schwabenbauer also emphasized the importance of not diluting electrolyte beverages. She said kids do this a lot because it helps the drink taste better, but it actually takes away from the nutritional benefits of the drink.

“This practice I see quite a bit when they dilute the Gatorade with a lot of water, and something they need to know is that it doesn’t perform in the same way that it’s actually supposed to,” Schwabenbauer said. “It doesn’t give them as many electrolytes, calories, energy and things like that when they dilute it.”

Within 30 minutes after a game, youth athletes should have at least a snack that has both carbohydrates and protein. Within two hours after practice or a game, Schwabenbauer said kids need to have an actual meal.

“That meal should contain all the components of a regular meal they would be eating, such as a high quality protein source like turkey, baked chicken breast or tacos with vegetables on it,” she said. “They’re also going to need a carbohydrate so they’re going to need a pasta or bread component.”

Schwabenbauer said the after-activity meal doesn’t have to be dinner food. It could also be breakfast food such as omelets with meat and veggies and whole wheat bread as long as the meal contains a protein and carbohydrate.

For parents, planning ahead is an easier and healthier choice to make for their kids. They can grab food for practice when they need it and make sure they have healthy choices easily accessible.

“You save that time,” Schwabenbauer said. “Portioning out snacks for the week, such as grapes and carrots, and it’s all set and ready to go. It’s just easy to whip out the snack from the refrigerator and not have to think a thing of it.”

Proper nutrition is a key part of success for youth athletes on and off the field. Throughout the season, the right nutritious choices can help make the best of a young athlete’s performance on the football field, while instilling healthful habits for life.

Facts and Figures for Hydrating on the Field

Whether it’s a sweltering hot day of preseason practice or a cool November game, youth athletes can experience the effects of dehydration.

Making sure players are staying hydrated – for both practices and games – is a safety practice that youth football coaches need to remain cognizant about. Whether it’s a sweltering hot day of preseason practice or a cool November game, youth athletes can experience the effects of dehydration.

Along with techniques for tackling and blocking, why should proper fluid intake be another fundamental that youth coaches stress to their athletes? According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement on the Fluid Replacement for Athletes, “Dehydration of 1 percent to 2 percent of body weight begins to compromise physiologic function and negatively influence performance. Dehydration of greater than 3 percent of body weight further disturbs physiologic function and increases an athlete’s risk of developing an exertional heat illness (i.e. heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke).”

JohnEric Smith, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and a member of USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee, has some advice for youth coaches and players on how to best prepare for taking the field.

What is taking place in the body when an athlete is dehydrated during practice or a game?

There are multiple processes by which the body loses fluid. The main process for fluid loss during physical activity is sweating, which is critical in dissipating heat and maintaining body temperature. In a warm, humid environment, about 80 percent of heat loss is done through sweating. In a warm, dry environment, about 98 percent is done from the evaporation of sweat from the skin. Not balancing fluid intake with fluid losses from sweat is the primary reason athletes get dehydrated during activity.

What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration that coaches should be aware of?

The first sign of dehydration is thirst and general discomfort. Then as dehydration becomes more severe, flushed skin, general fatigue and possibly the onset of muscle cramping can occur. As players continue to dehydrate, they can become dizzy, have a headache, vomit, and/or have chills. Similar to other things, there’s a progressive physical decline as you become more and more dehydrated.

What can occur as a result of these symptoms?

One impact of dehydration is a rise in core temperature as someone becomes dehydrated. Dehydration leads to a faster rise in body temperature during exercise. As body temperature increases, you begin to increase the risk of heat illness and heat injuries. To help protect against the negative effects of increasing body temperature, fluid is lost in the form of sweat to help maintain a close to normal body temperature.

Much of this fluid loss is going to come from the fluid in the blood increasing the stress placed on the cardiovascular system. The heart is going to work harder to pump blood because it’s going to become thicker making it more difficult to move through the body. Because the heart is working harder, heart rate generally goes up three to five beats per minute.

Another negative impact of dehydration is an increase in the perception of effort to do the same task. Because of the rise in core temperature, increased strain on the cardiovascular system and increased perception of effort, the time to reach exhaustion is reduced. Decrements in physical performance have been shown with dehydration rates as low as 2 percent – this is like a 150-pound person losing 3 pounds.

When is it most important for athletes to consume the most liquids – before or during exercise?

Hydration needs to be a focus for athletes throughout the day. Because all athletes are different, it is impossible to make general hydration guidelines. When not practicing or competing, remember to drink fluids when you are thirsty throughout the day. Monitor your urine output and urine color. The color of your urine should be similar to lemonade. If your urine is darker than lemonade you should be drinking more, if your urine is clear you may need to drink less.
About 7 percent of athletes show up to practice and games dehydrated – they’re not hydrating well away from the practice and competition field. Athletes should be sure to drink something two to three hours before their game. Monitor urine volume and color and have that direct you in consuming more fluids before exercising. During exercise, drink to match what your body is losing. To determine the volume you need to consume during activity, weigh in before practice and games then weigh out after practices and games. Your goal should be to minimize the amount of weight you lose during your activity while making sure you do not gain weight during the activity too.

What are the differences and benefits between drinking water and sports drinks?

Number one, sports drink will encourage you to drink because of the salt, flavor and taste. Salt and carbohydrates help for faster absorption of the fluid and the salt replenishes the electrolytes lost through sweat. The body primarily uses carbohydrates for fuel during exercise and your body has limited stores of carbohydrates available, so it’s important to provide an external source that your body can use during exercise as opposed to relying solely on what your body has stored.

What are some general hydration tips for youth athletes to follow?

One of the most important points to remember is to think about your hydration throughout the day and not solely center it around your activity. You want to make sure you’re drinking enough, but also not drinking too much. Both under hydrating and over hydrating have harmful medical consequences.