Over-hydration poses a danger for students


Marissa Almack

In the midst of the fall sports season, coaches encourage athletes to stay hydrated. Many athletes even carry water bottles around to their classes with them. But the push to stay hydrated can lead to overhydration, which can have severe effects.

Most are aware of dehydration and the negative effects that it can impose, but scientists are finding them to be false. Dehydration has been found to not have a direct effect on cramps. Drinking more water doesn’t help to prevent heat illnesses either. However, coaches continually tell their athletes to drink more water.

“They tell us to be drinking one cup of water each class,” said Lucie Marshall, junior soccer player.

The push for too much hydration can lead to a surplus of fluid in the body that it is unable to get rid of. According to the New York Times, one high school football player in Georgia died after overhydrating. After experiencing cramps during practice, the player drank around four gallons of water to address the problem. Later that day, he collapsed in his house and died several days later.

Dr. Kevin Miller, an associate professor of athletic training at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., said in an interview with the New York Times that the best way to keep athletes from over hydrating is to encourage them to only drink when they are thirsty. Dr. Miller also said that it is important to take athletes out of the game if they aren’t feeling well or if they feel overheated. The best way to prevent heat illnesses is to simply advise athletes to sit in a shady area or somewhere that allows them to cool down, rather than drinking more water.

“I only drink as much water as I know I’ll need for a game,” Marshall said.