The Health Effect of Heat-Illness on Baseball and Softball Umpires

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Baseball and softball umpires are affected by heat-related illness like other professionals who work in the outdoor environment. Many officials are volunteers while other receives compensation for their efforts. Regardless of the level of officiating from Little League to the Major Leagues, most are affected by heat-related illness in the summertime. Although heat-related illness is discussed in general by some colleges and high schools in their programs, the umpiring associations engaging these officials has failed to recognize the hazard and risks. In order to provide awareness of heat-related illness and how it affects an umpire’s performance on the field, a presentation was created to train officials to understand what happens when they fail to hydrate, rest, and take the necessary precautions that can affect their health. Heat exhaustion is the primary cause for umpires to make poor judgments for calling balls and strikes as well as making critical decisions on rotating into position to make calls on plays. Many lower level officials will take assignments for doubleheaders or multiple game assignments in the summer without regard for their ability to meet expectations. By creating awareness, we hope to improve the lives of baseball and softball officials and improve their performance on the field by understanding the effects of heat-related illness.

Transcript of The Health Effect of Heat-Illness on Baseball and Softball Umpires

  • Heat Illness Presented by: Bernard L. Fontaine, Jr., CIH, CSP, AIHA Fellow Member of the New Jersey State Federation of Baseball Umpires (NJSFU) and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA)
  • New York Times By MURRAY CHASS Published: April 2, 1996 BASEBALL: Umpire Dies After Collapsing on Field John McSherry, working the first inning of his 26th season as a major league umpire, collapsed and died in Cincinnati yesterday on the opening day of the baseball season. He was believed to be the first person to be stricken fatally on the field during a major league baseball game since 1920. McSherry, working behind home plate at Riverfront Stadium, called just seven pitches before walking back toward the stands and collapsing. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at University Hospital in Cincinnati about an hour after the start of the game between the Reds and the Montreal Expos. The hospital said McSherry, 51 years old, suffered sudden cardiac death. Heat-Related Deaths
  • Heat Illness Introduction Physiology Heat Illness Treatment Prevention
  • Major concern for all umpires who work in hot and/or humid conditions Affects physiology, judgment and performance on and off the field Affects your physiology especially for those on medications or afflicted with certain illnesses and/or disease Heat Illness
  • Some initial symptoms include: Chills Dark colored urine Dizziness Dry mouth Headaches Thirst Weakness Heat Illness
  • Metabolic Heat Basal metabolic heat production (at rest): 60-70 kcal/hr. - 50% from organs Exercise metabolic heat production: 1000 kcal/hr. 90% heat for muscle metabolism Core body temperature rises 1oC with every 5-8 minutes of exercise Heat Illness
  • Thermoregulation Umpires can lose body heat by: Evaporation of sweat from the skin Conduction by touching cooler objects Convection from a cool breeze, and Radiation from release of infrared heat Heat Illness
  • Human Physiology Core body temperature is 98.6 oF Body heat is centrally controlled by the hypothalamus and spinal cord Body removes excess metabolic heat by increasing blood flow to skin and increasing sweat production Evaporation reduced by high humidity Heat Illness
  • Health problems in hot environments Heat rash is most common problem Caused by sweating without ability for moisture to evaporate from skin Red cluster of raised pimples or small blisters Appears on neck, upper chest, groin, under breasts, and elbow creases Heat Illness
  • Heat Illness Can Progress To More Serious Symptoms Such As: Difficulty breathing Mental confusion or incoherence Elevated core body temperature Muscle cramps Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea Tingling of the hands or feet, and Death from heat stroke, respiratory failure or heart attack Heat Illness
  • Health problems in hot environments Heat cramps are muscle pains caused by physical work in a hot and humid environment Heat cramps result from a continued loss of body salts and bodily fluids from continued sweating Heat Illness
  • Health problems in hot environments Heat exhaustion is the next most serious heat-related health problem Signs and symptoms are headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, confusion, severe thirst, heavy sweating, and a rising body temperature greater than 100.4F Heat Illness
  • Health problems in hot environments Heat exhaustion affects the ability to call balls/strikes, cover rotations, and judge safe/out on close plays Occurs at any air temperature and not associated with collapse Result of dehydration most common in hot and humid environments Heat Illness
  • Health problems in hot environments Heat stroke is the most serious Occurs when the body temperature regulating system fails and core body temperature rises above the critical level (> 104F) This medical emergency can result in death and EMS must be activated! Heat Illness
  • Risk Factors High temperature and humidity Low fluid consumption Direct sun exposure (with no shade) Poor nutrition Limited air movement (breeze/wind) Physical exertion Multiple layers of clothing/equipment Heat Illness
  • Risk Factors Poor physical condition Ongoing health problems Some medications Pregnancy No prior exposure to hot environment Previous heat-related illness Heat Illness
  • Best Treatment is Prevention Proper training for heat symptoms Monitor intensity of physical activity for fitness and acclimatization status If symptoms begin during a game, consult with your partner or athletic trainer to prevent or treat heat-related illness Heat Illness
  • Best Treatment is Prevention Replace fluids by hydrating before, during, and after a game Wear light colored and loose fitting clothes during summer months Early recognition via visual monitoring of partner, especially plate umpire during extended inning games and/or multiple game assignments Heat Illness
  • Acclimatization Gradually increase duration/intensity first 10-14 days of heat exposure Full acclimatization takes 12 weeks of exposure Repeated heat exposure helps skin blood flow, rapid onset of sweating, increases plasma volume, and helps decreases metabolic rate Heat Illness
  • When Should An Umpire Hydrate? Drink 16 ounces of water or a sport drink before and after the game Hydration should continue with at least 4-8 fluid ounces every 15-20 minutes (e.g., every complete inning), especially for the plate umpire as long as game play continues Heat Illness
  • How Should An Umpire Hydrate? Plain water is adequate for those games lasting 45-minutes to 1-hour Games more than 1-hour or multiple games in the same day, fluids should contain carbohydrates, sodium (Na) and potassium (K), which are found in sport drinks Heat Illness
  • What NOT To Drink Drinks with >8% carbohydrate (CHO) Fruit juices, sodas, and sport drinks with >6-8% carbohydrates Beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or carbonation to reduce dehydration from excess urine production and/or decreased voluntary fluid intake Heat Illness
  • How Can Heat Illness Be Treated? Get umpire to a cool shaded area If heat stroke, remove protective equipment and cool body rapidly using cold water immersion or spray water on body, cold water sponging or towels, or insert insulated bags of ice/ice packs behind the neck, under the arms and groin area Heat Illness
  • How Can Heat Illness Be Treated? Monitor skin or body temperature by using a thermal scan thermometer Provide cool beverages only if the umpire does not have altered state of consciousness Do not remove wet clothing Get medical assistance quickly Heat Illness
  • How Can Heat Illness Be Prevented? Train umpires on health hazards, risk factors, signs and symptoms Increase the number/type of game assignments during the summer Remind umpires to bring and drink water or sport drinks before, during, and after the game Heat Illness
  • How Can Heat Illness Be Prevented? Maximum fluid intake is limited to 12 quarts in 24-hours Monitor weather and reschedule games for cooler times of the day Use breaks between games for rest/ recovery under a shady tree, covered dugout, or air-conditioned vehicle Heat Illness
  • Questions Thank you for your participation in the course. We hope that you understand the hazards, risks, and methods to help prevent heat-related illness while officiating during the summer. Please have a safe and enjoyable baseball and/or softball season this year.