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Dehydration is a dangerous side effect of officiating in hot conditions. Dehydration not only dramatically affects performance, but can lead to heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Players often have coaching staff forcing bottles of water or sports drinks at them during every timeout. Officials, on the other hand, must remember to rehydrate themselves. The combination of increased body temperature, intense exertion and lack of fluids brings on dehydration that leads to decreased physical and mental performance. Dehydrated officials may lose their ability to effectively get to the action, and they might be slow to react to the action when they do get there.

Drinks containing sugar and salt are an official’s best fluid replacement. All contain reasonable amounts of both carbohydrates (sugars) and electrolytes (salts).

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Avoid soda-type drinks since most contain too much sugar and not enough salts. Interestingly enough, chocolate milk beats many sports drinks for effectiveness. 

Ideally, you should consume four to six ounces of fluid for every 10 to 15 minutes of activity. A more practical technique is to drink three to four cups (24 to 32 ounces) of fluid about once an hour. Use that method in your preseason workouts in order to get your body accustomed to performing activities with fluid in your stomach.

Drink two to three cups of fluid 10 to 15 minutes before a game

Drinking about two or three cups of fluid 10 to 15 minutes before a game is also recommended. If it’s a very hot or humid day, increase fluid intake to as much as one to two quarts an hour.

As soon as possible after the game, take a cool (rather than hot or cold) shower. It helps cool the skin and reduce body temperature.

Alcohol promotes dehydration. Limit or eliminate alcohol for 24 hours before a contest. The beer you skip after a Friday night game may lead to a more comfortable Saturday afternoon.

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Note: This article is archival in nature. Rules, interpretations, mechanics, philosophies and other information may or may not be correct for the current year.

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