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Club News

Skitty on the Heat

20 July 2016

Medical staff aiming to deal with the hot weather

With the start of the season just over two weeks away, Shrewsbury Town’s new look squad continue to work hard on the training pitch ahead of their clash with MK Dons on the 6th August.

In what has been a relatively wet summer so far, the last few days of sun have been welcomed by the Town squad. But with temperatures topping 30 degrees on Tuesday, it’s vital that the players take the necessary precautions in order to perform.

ShrewsWeb spoke to Town Physio Chris Skitt about the heat and how the medical staff are dealing with it.
“Your body is made up of approximately 80% of water, he told ShrewsWeb.
“Obviously with the heat being in and around and not just heat being a factor, but humidity being a factor, there’s an increase in sweat rate.
“As a result of that you lose a lot of fluid and a lot of electrolytes within the fluids. So therefore the evidence suggests that even as little as 10% decrease in hydration can lead to about a 60 to 70% decrease in performance of your muscles. So it’s massive for us to keep a track of their sweat rates.
“Routinely when it gets this hot we’ll weigh the players before they train and also weigh them again after they train. I’ve devised a spreadsheet that calculates their sweat rate, how much total fluid they’ve lost and then how much they have to replace to try and get the goodness back in,” he said.

Whilst pre season is about building up fitness, it is also important to try and prevent long term injuries. Skitt believes it’s vital that the medical staff do as much as possible to lessen the risks.
“Cramping is a big issue when people suffer from dehydration. When the weather is this hot the electrolytes leave the body and then plays havoc with the muscles, making them cramp because they haven’t got the right ingredients to cause proper contractions, so it causes then to lock on and that’s cramping effectively,” he said.
“What we look to do when it’s this hot is pre cool the players, so we’ll have ice towels and ice water in the changing rooms before they go out so they effectively try and drop their core temperature before they go out into the humidity and heat of the day.
“That’s been linked with improved performance by doing that to combat the effects of heat”, he added.

Skitt admitted that there is no maximum temperature in which the players can train, but thinks it’s important to train in the right way then the temperatures are high.
“What we’ll try and do when it’s this hot is manipulate the training sessions around the heat of the day.
“So normally we will train at half past 10 in the morning and it will go on through the middle of the day, obviously that’s not wise when it’s this hot, so we’ll try and manipulate that to either an earlier session or a later session
“With regards to a maximum temperature we wouldn’t train in there isn’t an exact figure, we just use our common sense. There are many things you can do instead of just beasting them out in the sun,” he said.

It’s important for everyone to take extra care when out in the sun and for the Town players it’s no exception.
“The nature of the football pitch means that you don’t tend to find too much shade out there when it’s on a training pitch.
“So obviously for the fairer skinned lads it’s common sense that they are going to have to have to be plastered in sun cream and take precautions, but they’re also going to have to get loads of fluid down them and where possible get some shade, if we can find some for them,” said Skitt.

Town included a water break during their match with Birmingham City on Tuesday night and Skitt wouldn’t hesitate to do so again if it kept the players safe.
“I know FIFA were considering water breaks and things like that and it’s something that I’d suggest.
“If it would have been a three o’clock then I would have spoken to the management here, the management at the other club, to basically try and see if we could get a water break in,” he said.
“Because ultimately your body does deteriorate so much in a dehydrated state, it’s so important to keep on top of it and that’s just one precaution you can take that might make a difference.
“We’ll try and combat it as best we can by putting water all around the ground just before kick off to try and make sure that all the players for both teams are encouraged to drink at every opportunity and try and hopefully avoid anything serious in relation to the heat.”

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