Environmental Dangers In New Mexico
Be Aware and Keep the Players Safe
As explained in the Coach Safe Haven Program, here in New Mexico, we coaches need to be concerned about three dangers to our players: lightning, dehydration, and hypothermia.
You may experience lightning at practices and games during just about any part of the year, but it is most common in our fall season. Nationwide, lightning kills an average of 62 people and injures hundreds more each year. The key to keeping the player safe is to plan ahead and take lightning seriously. For more information, see the National Weather Service's Lightning Safety Page
- Have a lightning shelter plan and communicate it to the parents. Outline what action you will take to keep the kids safe when a lightning storm approaches.
- Stop practice or play immediately when you see lightning or hear thunder - don't wait until you think it's close.
- Take players to the lightning shelter outlined in your paln - if a building is available, that's best; otherwise sitting in cars may have to do.
- Tell the parents to come to the field if they see lightning - they may need to pick up their kids early.
During our fall season, the hot weather and vigorous exercise puts children, coaches, referees, and spectators at risk of illness due to dehydration. The following ideas will help keep everyone safe.
- Push Water - Encourage your players to drink water before and during practices and games.
- Make sure you have water available for the players at practices and games. Most players will bring their own, but it's a good idea to have an extra water bottle or two for those who forget.
- During games, players may step to the touchline at any time for water.
- Players may not leave the field of play - someone will have to hand them their water, and they have to put down the water bottle before playing the ball.
- Referees are also at risk of dehydration. Offer them water at halftime.
- Be alert to signs of dehydration in players, coaches, referees and spectators.
While the sun is the major factor in the fall, the cold, wind, and rain can ruin a good day of soccer in the spring. Please keep the following in mind.
- Low temperatures plus rain and wind put players at risk.
- Wear appropriate clothes. Knitted caps, sweats, and gloves are OK. A turtleneck under the jersey can really help too.
- When players are shivering and lips are blue, no one is having fun – ask the ref to call the game.