Cold Weather Considerations
Cold weather is defined as any temperature that can negatively affect the body’s regulatory system. It is important to remember that temperatures do not have to be freezing to have this effect. Individuals engaged in sports activities in cold, wet or windy conditions are at risk for environmental cold injuries
Recommended Preventative Strategies:
- The Athletic Trainer (ATC) will monitor and issue an advisory when applicable.
(If no ATC is present the AD will make the decision followed by the coaching staff).
- Athletic Department officials will monitor temperature, wind speed, wind chill, and precipitation through the National Weather Service and will be in contact with the coaching staff.
- Based on information from the National Weather Service and local weather stations, measurements, ATC will determine the risk of potential danger to participants.
RISK TEMP/WINDCHILL MODIFICATIONS___________________
- Low Risk 30oF & above Outside participation allowed w/ appropriate
- Moderate Risk 30oF -20oF Additional protective clothing (hat, gloves)
Provide re-warming facilities
- High Risk 20oF -10oF Outside participation limited to 45 minutes*
All participants must have appropriate clothing. Provide re-warming facilities
- Extreme Risk 10oF or below Termination of all outside activities#
* Frostbite can occur in 30 minutes. See attached chart
When necessary, competition modifications should be considered to ensure the safety of the athletes. This may include:
– Extended half times -access to a warm building
– Abbreviated introductions -ensuring/mandating proper clothing
Additional Directives for coaches and student athletes:
– Exercise in windy or rainy conditions or water immersion in cold temperatures has unique challenges to the body’s ability to maintain normal temperature. The transfer of body heat in water may be 70 times greater than in air.
– In Cold exposure; activity requires more energy from the body. Additional calorie intake may be required.
– In Cold exposure; activity requires similar hydration to room temperature; however the thirst reflex is not activated. Conscious efforts before and after practice to hydrate should be initiated.
– Never train alone. A simple ankle sprain in cold weather may become life threatening.
– Appropriate clothing must be closely monitored and mandated (see next page)
In cold weather conditions appropriate clothing should be worn to prevent cold exposure. Both the Athletic Trainer(s) and the coaches should mandate the student-athletes to implement the following:
- Wear several layers around the core of the body (especially those who are not very active).
o The first layer should wick moisture away from the body (Dry Tech, Underarmor)
o The top layers should trap heat and block the wind (fleece)
o The Outer layer should be wind and water-resistant or waterproof
o No cotton as inside layer.
- Long pants designed to insulate.
o Sweatpants are a good choice as a base layer
o On windy or wet days wind pants or a nylon shell should be worn on the surface layer
- Long sleeved garment that will break the wind
- Hat or helmet to protect the ears (cover/tape ear holes of helmets for wind, cold protection)
- Face protection
- Moisture wicking socks
-It is important that athletes avoid wearing multiple layers of cotton. When the body sweats the cotton will become dense and permeated with sweat
Signs/ Symptoms of Cold Stress:
- Fatigue · Blurred vision
- Confusion · Numbness/tingling of skin
- Slurred Speech · Uncontrollable shivering
- Red or Painful extremities · Swollen Extremities
- Dizziness · Headache
Hypothermia: Body Core Temperature below 95oF
-Shivering -Lethargy, amnesia
-Impaired motor control -Pale, cold face and extremities
-Decreased heart rate -Slurred speech
-Impaired mental function
Treatment: Remove wet clothing, warm with dry insulating blankets, cover the head, get to a warm environment. Provide warm beverages, avoid friction, avoid warming extremities initially
Frostnip/Frostbite: Frostbite is actual freezing of body tissues.
-Dry, waxy skin -Swelling
-Burning, tingling -Limited movement
-White/blue/gray patches -Aching, throbbing, shooting pain
Treatment: Re-warm slowly in warm water (not hot); avoid friction/rubbing tissue
Chilblain: is an exaggerated or uncharacteristic inflammatory response to cold exposure.
-Red or blue lesions -Swelling -Increased temperature
-Tenderness -Itching, numbness, burning
Treatment: Wash, dry area; elevate, cover with loose clothing/blankets; avoid friction, lotion.