Heat Stroke Recognition

Look for these symptoms in athletes when heat stroke is suspected:

The two main criteria for diagnosing EHS are rectal temperature >105°F (40.5°C) immediately post collapse and central nervous system dysfunction (e.g. irrational behavior, irritability, emotional instability, altered consciousness, collapse, coma, dizziness etc)

  • When observing athletes, look for other signs and symptoms that may indicate they are suffering from exertional heat stroke:
  • Rectal temperature greater than 105°F (40°C).
  • Irrational behavior, irritability, emotional instability
  • Altered consciousness, coma
  • Disorientation or dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion or just look “out of it”
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps, loss of muscle function/balance, inability to walk
  • Collapse, staggering or sluggish feeling
  • Profuse sweating
  • Decreasing performance or weakness
  • Dehydration, dry mouth, thirst
  • Rapid pulse, low blood pressure, quick breathing
  • Other outside factors may include:
    • They are out of shape or obese
    • It is a hot and humid day
    • Practice is near the start of the season, and near the end of practice
    • It is the first day in full pads and equipment

What else could this be?

  • Heat exhaustion
  • Exertional hyponatremia
  • Concussion
  • Cardiac arrest