Avoiding Heat Fatigue During Competition

I need some background on dealing with the heat in competition and training situations. I have some national teams competing in hot climates this summer (tournament situations). One team wants to use “ice vests” to cool down the players during breaks and substitutions. Does anyone have any experience using such devices, or any research on them? Is an ice vest creating too much of a shock on the body that will hurt them further into the game/tournament?

The team will be arriving at their tournament at least a week in advance and playing a few exhibition games to acclimatize. Is this enough to deal with the heat? They are currently practicing in weather that varies from 15 deg. celsius to high-20’s. I assume they may be playing in 30 degree weather or higher, with higher humidity.


Being in Tampa for 6 years but growing up in Boston I am in the same boat. While I don’t have the research on heat acclimatization on me, the time is about a week or more with some experts claiming 3 days before an addaptation. I know that heat is much faster to addapt to then cold. I have seen the old method of an extra layer being used to create mock conditons of the south (ACF east trainer in pro football 5 years ago) but I don’t know if the research backs this up.

As for the cool capes they work! I know that IPI uses them and from what some people say that they help with maintaining your glycogen stores by “turning off the thermostat”. Stanford has a device that an athlete can hold on to and it cools the body off rapidly…this is of course for football. This is gradual if the athlete uses a dry shirt over it. It’s like a giant cold back (the blue gel bricks to keep your beer cold in the summer).

Crythotherapy in sport, the author claims it works. He is the expert in cold…but then again he is baised.

If it was soccer, I would give them to the middies and forwards.

This won’t directly answer your question but here is some interesting research on acclimitization to hot enviroments from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers Fundamentals Handbook:

The following statements are based on research in which exercising subjects were exposed to 104 degrees F (23% relative humidity) over a period of days. Measured variables were heart rate, rectal temperature and skin temperature.

“Acclimitization (to hot environments) can be achieved by working in the heat for 100 min. each day - 30% improvement occurs after the first day, 50% after 3 days, and 95% after 6 or 7 days. Increased sweat secretion while working in the heat can be induced by rest. Although reducing salt intake during the first few days in the heat can conserve sodium, heat cramps may result. Working regularly in the heat improves cardiovascular efficiency, sweat secretion, and sodium conservation. Once induced, heat acclimitization can be maintained by as few as once-a-week workouts in the heat; otherwise, it diminishes slowly over a 2-3 week period and disappears.”


Researach in 1999 from Gonzalez et al showed that cool capes work…hope that helps.