Sports Hydration for Health and Performance

During sporting practices and events it is imperative for athletes to stay hydrated not only for health reasons but also for maximum performance. Dehydration can lead to life threatening conditions such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke if not treated and can lead to decreased  performance at the basic level.  Heat illnesses can range from heat cramps and heat exhaustion to heat stroke that can be fatal. All types of heat illnesses need to be recognized and properly treated quickly to decrease the severity of the situation.

Signs of Minor Heat Illness:

  • -Dizziness
  • -Cramps, muscular tightening and spasms
  • -Lightheadedness, when not associated with other symptoms

Early Warning Signs of Exertional Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke:

  • -Headache, dizziness, confusion and disorientation
  • -Excessive Sweating and/or flushing
  • -Fatigue
  • -Nausea and/or vomiting
  • -Chills and/or goose bumps

Signs of Exertional Heat Stroke:

  • -Core body temperature of more than 105 degrees
  • -Signs of nervous system dysfunction such as confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness
  • -Increased heart rate
  • -Rapid breathing
  • -Seizures
  • -Low blood pressure

Fluids should be consumed before, during and after practices and games to help prevent any heat illness from occurring and to replace fluids lost during activity. On average athletes should consume 200-300 milliliters of fluids every day.

A good way to measure how much fluid an athlete should consume after practices is a weigh in and weigh out chart. Athletes weigh in before activity starts and then weigh out after they have concluded the activities.  For every pound lost during activity an additional 16 ounces should be consumed on top of what the athlete already is consuming. The goal is for the athlete’s weight to be back to the starting weight by the next practice. This ensures that the athlete is properly re-hydrated.

The easiest way to determine if you are properly hydrated is the color of your urine. It should be light like lemonade.

Lori Conklin, MOG Staff Athletic Trainer, graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, NC) in 2006 with a B.S in Athletic Training and a B.A in K-12 Physical Education. Shortly after graduation she became Head Athletic Trainer at a local high school as part of an outreach program with Carolina’s Medical Center for 3 years before relocating to Memphis in 2008. Lori worked with Baptist Rehabilitation Germantown covering St. George’s Independent School from 2008-2010. Lori has been Head Athletic Trainer at Arlington High School for the past 5 years and has been with Memphis Orthopaedic Group since September 2013. Lori is also a part of an elite group of Athletic Trainers that covers a World Championship Cheerleading Competition that is held in Atlanta, Ga. annually.


Hey Trainer!!! Do I Have To Wear A Mouthpiece?

Hey Trainer!!! Do I Have To Wear A Mouthpiece?

My name is Jay Phillips and I am a Certified Athletic Trainer. I want to talk briefly about mouthpieces and why they should be worn. There have been numerous studies that have been done by the American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry that reveals a reduction is oral/facial injuries when athletes use a mouthpiece. Equally the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) mandates the use of these devices in football, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse and wrestling (for wrestlers wearing braces).

The NFHS States before there was a mandate for athletic wear of the mouthpiece, that 50% of football player injuries were facial/oral and since the mandate the number of occurrences has dropped to 1%. The TSSAA adopted resolutions in 2006 that mandates mouthpieces in all TSSAA contact sports.   Mouthpieces should protect the entire biting surface of the teeth. It is widely acknowledged that mouthpieces should be properly fitted to the individual athlete and that the one size fits all is not always the best. An athlete should be able to speak if the mouthpiece is properly fitted.

So, the answer to the question of if a mouthpiece should be worn is a resounding yes! But, it is still up to the parent and student athlete to select the correct size and type of mouthpiece.



Hey Trainer! My Helmet is Too Big!

Hey Trainer!!! My Helmet is Too Big!


My name is Jay Phillips and I am a Certified Athletic Trainer. I want to talk briefly about helmets and why it is important to make sure they fit correctly. As fall sport’s season progresses, all athletes that wear helmets must be mindful of the movement of the helmets that they wear for their sport. Here are some tips to make sure that your helmet fits correctly:

  1. Measure Head Size: Using a tape measure, measure the head from above the brow to around the temples and at around the occiput (larger back portion of the head) back to above the brow.
  2. Confirm Helmet Size based on your Measurements:
Size Hat Size Circumference
S Up to 6 1/2 Up to 20 3/8″
M 6 1/2 – 7 20 3/8 – 22″
L 7 – 7 1/2 22 – 23 1/2″
XL 7 1/2 and Up 23 1/2 and Up

3. Putting on Helmet: Place thumbs over the base of the ear pads and gently lower helmet onto head at a considerable angle so that the ear pads 1st touch the temple.

4. Adjusting Fit: Inflation of the helmet is not always needed. Only use if the helmet does not fit properly.

  • Use an inflation bulb and a proper inflation needle
  • Add air to obtain a comfy fit
  • Ear pads should be comfortably fixed next to players face

5. Checking for Proper Fit:

  • Front of helmet should be 1” above players eye brow
  • Interlock hands over helmet and firmly press down unto head. The skin of the front head should move with the front pad
  • There should be no twisting of the helmet when pressure is applied
  • Remember that the pressure of the helmet should be felt at the crown of the head not the brow
  • Never wear a helmet that rests too high on the head or too low on the head

6. Attaching Chin Strap: Make sure that the chinstrap is at the middle of the

chin and comfortable over the chin

7. Taking Off Helmet: Unlatch the bottom button of the chin strap and then

gently press thumbs into ear pad and lift helmet off.




It’s Back-to-School Time: Lighten Your Load


With a bursting school curriculum and more gadgets than before, kids today could be experiencing the effects of a heavy backpack. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) urge parents and kids to consider safety first to avoid backpack-related injuries.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more than 24,300 individuals were treated in hospitals and doctors’ offices for injuries related to backpacks in 2012, and more than 9,500 of those injuries were kids 5-18 years old.

“Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of load among some of the body’s strongest muscles,” said orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Michael Wade Shrader, MD. “But, when worn incorrectly, injuries such as strains, sprains and posture problems can occur. While some of these injuries can be minor, others can have a lasting effect on kids, and follow them into adulthood.”

AAOS and POSNA recommend the following tips to help eliminate discomfort and reduce the risk of backpack-related injuries. 

  • Kids should carry no more than 15-20 percent of their body weight.
  • Use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed and adjust the shoulder straps to keep the load close to the back.
  • Remove or organize items if too heavy and pack the heavier things low and towards
    the center.
  • When lifting backpacks, bend at the knees.
  • School backpacks are for schoolwork. Carry only those items that are required for the day; if possible, leave books at home or school.
  • At home and at school, keep walkways clear of backpacks to avoid tripping.

    Parents also can help with backpack-related pain:

  • Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about numbness or tingling in the arms or legs which may indicate poor fit or too much weight being carried.
  • If the backpack seems too heavy for the child, have them remove some of the books
    and carry them in their arms to ease load on the back.
  • Purchase a backpack appropriate for the size of your child.
  • Watch your child put on or take off the backpack to see if it is a struggle.
  • Encourage your child to stop at their locker throughout the day as time permits to drop off heavier books.


She’s Got Game: Conversations About Raising an Athletic Daughter — Sessions Open to the Public!

St. Mary’s Turkey Athletics​ is hosting a series of sessions titled She’s Got Game, conversations about raising an athletic daughter. The first session is this Tuesday, March 17, from 7 to 8:30. Titled ‘A Head of Your Game,’ the discussion will focus on concussion and other sports-related research. These events will be held in the Buckman Building and are open to the public.

Memphis Orthopaedic Group’s Dr. Chris Ferguson will be speaking at the March 31st session, Wellness of a Female Athlete!


Female Athletics Flyer


Sprains, Strains, and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries

Sprains, Strains, and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries

When you participate in sports and physical fitness activities, you can injure the soft tissues of your body. Even simple everyday activities can damage these ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Some of the soft-tissue injuries you are most likely to experience include:

  • sprains
  • strains
  • contusions
  • tendonitis
  • bursitis
  • stress injuries

Any of these can be the result of a single episode, such as a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow to the body. You might also sustain one or more of these injuries because of repeated overuse, such as in ongoing athletic activities. In this case, small amounts of body stress accumulate slowly but steadily. The result can be damage and pain.

Here are some of the injuries you are most likely to experience, along with suggested ways of treating them.


The joints of your body are supported by ligaments. Ligaments are strong bands of connective tissue that connect one bone to another. A sprain is a simple stretch or tear of the ligaments.

The areas of your body that are most vulnerable to sprains are your ankles, knees, and wrists.

A sprained ankle can occur when your foot turns inward. This can put extreme tension on the ligaments of your outer ankle and cause a sprain.

A sprained knee can be the result of a sudden twist.

A wrist sprain most often occurs when you fall on an outstretched hand.

Most mild sprains heal with “R.I.C.E.” (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and exercise. Moderate sprains may also require a period of bracing. The most severe sprains may require surgery to repair torn ligaments.

Sprains and strains are usually treated first with RICE (rest, ice, compression using a bandage, and elevation.)

Your bones are supported by a combination of muscles and tendons. Tendons connect muscles to bones.

A strain is the result of an injury to either a muscle or a tendon, usually in your foot or leg. The strain may be a simple stretch in your muscle or tendon, or it may be a partial or complete tear in the muscle-and-tendon combination.

The recommended treatment for a strain is the same as for a sprain: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This should be followed by simple exercises to relieve pain and restore mobility.

For a serious tear, the soft tissues may need to be repaired surgically.


A contusion is a bruise caused by a blow to your muscle, tendon, or ligament. The bruise is caused when blood pools around the injury and discolors the skin.

Most contusions are mild and respond well when you rest, apply ice and compression, and elevate the injured area.

If symptoms persist, medical care should be sought to prevent permanent damage to the soft tissues.


Inflammation is a healing response to injury. It is usually accompanied by swelling, heat, redness, and pain. An inflammation in a tendon or in the covering of the tendon is called tendonitis.

Tendonitis is caused by a series of small stresses that repeatedly aggravate the tendon.

Professional baseball players, swimmers, tennis players, and golfers are susceptible to tendonitis in their shoulders and arms.

Soccer and basketball players, runners, and aerobic dancers are prone to tendon inflammation in their legs and feet.

Tendonitis may be treated by rest to eliminate stress, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, splinting, and exercises to correct muscle imbalance and improve flexibility.

Persistent inflammation may cause damage to the tendon, which may necessitate surgical correction.


A bursa is a sac filled with fluid that is located between a bone and a tendon or muscle. A bursa allows the tendon to slide smoothly over the bone.

Repeated small stresses and overuse can cause the bursa in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, or ankle to swell. This swelling and irritation is called bursitis.

Many people experience bursitis in association with tendonitis.

Bursitis can usually be relieved by rest and possibly with anti-inflammatory medication. Some orthopaedic surgeons also inject the bursa with additional medication to reduce the inflammation.

Stress Fractures

When one of your bones is stressed by overuse, tiny breaks in the bone can occur. The injury is termed a stress fracture.

Early symptoms may be pain and swelling in the region of the stress fracture. The bones of the lower leg and foot are particularly prone to stress fractures.

The fracture may not be seen on initial routine X-rays, requiring a bone scan to obtain the diagnosis.

These injuries are treated by rest, activity modification, cast immobilization, and, rarely, by surgery.

Good Care

If you are an athlete or a fitness enthusiast, you should pay close attention to your body’s warning signs.

Recreational athletes can help prevent injuries by a brief warm up, then stretching, before exercise.

Fatigue and pain are usually a signal that you are pressing too hard. Be sure to stretch thoroughly before your work-out, and stop before you are exhausted.

Stress injuries can also result from poor muscle balance, lack of flexibility, or weakness in soft tissues caused by previous injuries. These injuries to the muscle, bone ligaments, and tendons may require a prolonged amount of time to heal, in spite of appropriate care.

Consult your orthopaedic surgeon for treatment of these injuries to the soft tissue and bone. Besides treating the problem, he or she can develop a program of exercise or rehabilitation to restore function.

Last reviewed: July 2007
AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS “Find an Orthopaedist” program on this website