Extreme Temperatures

In the case of extreme temperatures, please follow our policy outlined below.

Extreme Cold:

Cold weather is common for us Canadians, so in the event that local air temperature or wind-chill index dips to or below 36°F the following guidelines will take effect:

• 36°F and above – No action taken

• 36°F and below – Projected air temperature or wind-chill index 2 hours prior to game time; cancel games & outdoor activities- league will notify team coaches and referees who will in turn notify parents.

Extreme Heat:

In the event air temperature rises to or above 90°F the following guidelines will take effect:

  • 90°F and below – No action taken
  •  Between 90°F and 100°F – Enforced 2-minute water breaks during each half
  • Over 110°F  — if projected air temp or heat index at game time is above 110°F, games and outdoor activities will be cancelled.  League will notify coaches and referees, who in turn, will notify parents.

Coaches and Referees:

  • Coaches and referees should get together before the game begins and agree to play 4 shortened quarters instead of 2 halves. Tiny Tots should play 8 or less 6 min. periods depending on the severity of the heat.
  • Any player feeling any type of symptom of heat exhaustion while on the field should go to one knee. As soon as a Referee sees a player go to one knee the referee is to stop play and allow the player to be substituted immediately.
  • Play is restarted with a drop ball where the ball was when the Referee stopped play.


There are some simple guidelines which have been prepared by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) when it comes to running activities in a hot and/or humid environment. The goal in participating in hot weather is to avoid fluid loss from the body or dehydration. Water not only accounts for some 98% of our body composition, but functions to help deliver oxygen to working muscles, and keeps the body from overheating during strenuous activity. Hard working muscles generate heat which is dissipated through the act of sweating. Evaporation of sweat on the skin allows the body to get rid of this heat and cool it off.

1. Avoid dehydration and make sure you pre-hydrate: Don’t wait till you feel thirsty because the body will not be able to tell you in time that you are dehydrated, here are some practical recommendations:

  • 2 hours before exercise, drink at least 16 oz or 500 ml (an average bottle of water)
  • 1 hour before exercise, drink at least 08 oz or 250 ml (half an average bottle of water
  • During the exercise, drink at least 4 to 8 oz every 15-20 minutes
  • Immediately after the exercise, drink at least 16 oz or 500 ml of water or an electrolyte replacing drink
  • 1 hour after a training session or game consider drinking 16 oz or 500 ml of skim milk or chocolate milk for protein and muscle repair

2. As a rule of thumb you should drink at least 500 ml for every 20 lbs of body weight, therefore, someone
weighing 140 lbs needs to drink at least 3500 ml of fluid per day if training or playing that day.

3. Drinking carbohydrate and electrolyte fluids may be beneficial in avoiding heat trauma.

4. Wearing light breathable clothing is advised.

The other issue to consider is, and you may be asking yourself at this point, what are the risk factors which could predispose a soccer player to heat injury. Listed below are a the major risk factors but this is by no means an exhaustive list:

1. Not being acclimatized
2. Unfit
3. Hypo hydration
4. Hyper hydration
5. Use of a variety of medications or supplements
6. Persons with persistent, disabling mental illness
7. Certain medical conditions (cardiac, lung)

How can you tell if one of your soccer players is experiencing heat injury? Below is a list of the early warning signs to look for and again this is not an exhaustive list:

1. Flushed face
2. Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
3. Headache
4. Dizziness
5. Tingling arms
6. Goose bumps (hair on arms standing on end)
7. Chilliness
8. Poor coordination
9. Confusion, agitation, uncooperativeness

A preseason or pre-event conditioning program, when combined with an 8-14 day period of acclimatization, may further reduce the risk of heat injury.

There are 3 main types of heat injury identified in the medical literature:

1. Heat Cramps – these are the mildest form of heat trauma and are commonly related to low body sodium and chloride levels.

Signs & Symptoms include – weakness, muscle cramps, collapse with low blood pressure.

Treatment- is aimed at replacing the salt loss and can be oral or by intravenous if vomiting is a problem. Having athletes put a little extra salt on their food the day before and day of game can be a helpful way to avoid this condition.

2. Heat Exhaustion – this is a more severe medical event as follows.

Signs & Symptoms include – weakness, irritability, collapse, unable to sweat adequately to promote body cooling, may proceed in the more ominous heat stroke and a fine rash is often present.

Treatment – remove athlete to a cooler environment, use ice baths, fans.

3. Heat Stroke – THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY – it is due to a failure of the heat – controlling mechanism. It may occur merely as a result of exposure to heat.

Signs & Symptoms include – mental confusion, headache, poor coordination, delirium, convulsions and death. The body temperature may be 106 F or 40.5 C or higher, the skin is usually hot and dry as the sweating mechanism has failed.

Treatment – Call 911 and transport to a local Hospital.

Rapid cooling is the goal using wet towels, spray mist, sponge baths and removal from the heat. This condition could cause the athlete to go into shock and coma may follow so immediate medical attention is required.

American College of Sports Medicine POSITION STAND. Exercise and Fluid
Replacement, Medicine &
Science in Sports & Exercise, 2007
Dr. Rudy Gittens
Past Medical Director, Canadian Soccer Association
Submitted by
Dr. Robert Gringmuth
Chair, OSA Medical Advisory Committee