But, it does make me think. Why didn't people collapse in those days as much as they do today? Was it because we didn't have a billion ways to get news today and in "those days" we were just not aware? That could be it but I have another thought.
So, back in the days of Babe Ruth and I think even into the 60's, baseball players played games in wool. Yes. Hot Wool! Also, until the first major league game played in the lights in 1935, all games were played in the middle of the day. These athletes were in the sun and heat of the summer in the middle of the day playing in wool uniforms. They not only survived but excelled. Were they stronger than today's players?
So, I have a theory on all this. Air Conditioning! In my childhood it was rare for anyone to have air conditioning. If they did, it was in the bedroom for sleeping. So, on hot days, we actually got outside. It was rare to have a car that had air conditioning and most schools did not have air conditioning. We existed all the time with the heat.
Human beings have an amazing ability to adapt and over the years, we just aren't used to the heat since we are in air conditioning almost everywhere. Then, when we have to go to a ball game as a player or coach or fan, we just can't adapt that quickly so 90 degree's feels unbearable...and actually is dangerous. Those players of the 30's weren't stronger but was simply used to the heat. Their bodies were used to 95 degrees temperature and today's athletes aren't.
I will add that the heat doesn't bother me as much as it does a lot of my friends. I played or coached in some capacity most every summer my whole life. I like doing things in the middle of the summer and I don't want the heat to stop me so I do as much outside as I can and I try to stay out of air conditioning as much as possible and when I do I try to not have it run cold. This does make it easier for me, even at my age, to exist in the heat. So, my first suggestion for you Diamond Athletes, get outside as much as possible. Stay out of air conditioning as much as possible. Make your bodies accustomed to the heat.
Now, with this said. We aren't in the 1930's and we do have air conditioning everywhere and it is almost impossible to avoid. So, we have to prepare for playing in the heat in other ways. Here are some recommendations:
- Get Acclimated: As advised by Dr. David Geier, "Take 10-14 days and gradually increase training in the heat to prepare for the first full practice or competition. Likewise, work to improve your cardiovascular fitness in the months prior to the start of the season to better prepare your body for the extreme heat." Link
- Drink water in between games and practices. Your body needs hydrated and if you just wait for the time you are outside it is hydrating your stomach more than it is your body.
- Of course, have water with you to drink when you are participating.
- Drinking a sports drink with electrolytes, especially sodium, to properly rehydrate is a good idea.
- Avoid caffeine.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise. Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing
- Muscle cramps
When to see a doctor
If you think you're experiencing heat exhaustion:
- Stop all activity and rest
- Move to a cooler place
- Drink cool water or sports drinks
- Contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don't improve within one hour. If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused or agitated, loses consciousness, or is unable to drink. You will need immediate cooling and urgent medical attention if your core body temperature (measured by a rectal thermometer) reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher.