In this interactive online course you will participate in activities that are designed to help you understand how proper hydration may aid in the effectiveness of athletic performance. After completing the course, it is incumbent upon you to educate others about the importance of hydration in athletics.
The specific objectives of the course include gaining an understanding of the importance of fluid replacement for athletes by designing, implementing, and evaluating successful fluid replacement strategies. The physiological, medical, and performance considerations associated with dehydration will be explored. Finally, you will demonstrate an understanding of the factors influencing optimal hydration before, during, and after athletic participation.
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. Journal of Athletic Training. 2000; 35 (2): 212-224) serves as the foundation for this course.
In the course, you will assume the role of an athletic trainer. During the course, Reed Mayer, ATC, will introduce you to concepts you’ll need to be familiar with as you will assess the hydration status of athletes and plan and implement hydration protocols. As the athletes share information about their training regimes, dietary and hydration habits, you will apply the principles introduced in the course to create and modify hydration protocols. The course concludes with a final exam over the key concepts and principles associated with hydration in athletics.
Physiology — Reed provides a review of the body’s thermoregulatory process. He discusses the signs and symptoms of heat illness and helps you to understand the treatments for various heat-related illnesses. The process of heat acclimatization is presented so that you can understand how to prepare athletes to practice and compete in hot environments. You are also introduced to the athletes you’ll work with throughout the course. Several high school wrestlers and football players are joined by two female collegiate soccer players and a distance runner.
Assessing hydration status — Working with Reed and the athletes, you’ll learn to recognize and interpret the common signs and symptoms of dehydration. Reed presents the common methods of assessing hydration status including urine color, urine specific gravity, and body weight changes. A quiz is included to help you review the key concepts presented in this session.
The hydration beverage — Reed helps you to understand that a hydration protocol is not “one size fits all” as he describes the necessary components of hydration beverages consumed before, during, and after activity. By the end of this session, you’ll know when and why some beverages are favorable to others. Reed presents some information on budgeting for hydration protocols. The session concludes with a brief quiz.
Physiological and medical implications of dehydration — In this part of the course, you examine the basic physiology associated with thermoregulation, dehydration, and rehydration. Reed also discusses the medical consequences associated with severe hypohydration and hyperhydration. The key concepts are reviewed in a short quiz.
Dehydration and Exercise: performance implications — Reed helps you work with several athletes so that you can better understand the performance consequences associated with progressively more severe levels of dehydration. Reed also helps you to understand the role that rehydration has on maintaining athletic performance. A quiz concludes this session.
Developing and implementing protocols hydration — You’ll work with the athletes engaging in two-a-day practices and competitive events in the heat as you learn about the multiple parameters that must be considered when establishing a hydration protocol (these include rules and confines of the sport, calculating sweat rate, hydration containers, and individual preferences). The focus of this session is to help you understand the multi-faceted considerations for implementing a successful hydration protocol and the necessary educational processes that must be a part of this process. You’ll create a Heat and Hydration policy and plan an educational presentation for a team sport before taking the review quiz over key concepts.
Hydration and Activity Hydration before, during, and after activity — Reed works with you in these sessions to help you learn about the proper amounts, type, and timing of rehydration beverages immediately before, during, and after athletic participation. He’ll give you pointers on how to maximize success with the rehydration process during activity. Working with the athletes, you’ll learn how assessment of hydration status and education can help prepare the athletes for activity in hot environments. You’ll examine using fluids with sodium for rehydration, strategies to help the athlete achieve maximal rehydration in a limited amount of time and aggressive rehydration techniques. Each of these sessions concludes with a brief review quiz.
Finally, you will take the final online course exam.