Lewis Roberts-Thomson tops up his Powerade levels after this morning's training session
As temperatures soared to new heights in Sydney today, members of the Sydney Swans medical staff were charged with the task of managing the team’s hydration on the track.
In a day which broke all Sydney’s weather records, the Swans sweated it out in a morning pre-season session on Lakeside Oval under the strict guidance of Swans dietician Lorraine Cullen.
Cullen told sydneyswans.com.au that there was careful preparation before the team hit the track in such extreme conditions.
“It can be dangerous to train in conditions like today, so it needs to be managed well,” Cullen said.
“What we need the guys to do is record their weight loss measure pre and post training and our aim is to keep it within a certain range.
“The reason for this is once the boys lose more than a certain percentage of body weight, it can be detrimental to their performance, which means their decision making will suffer and their endurance will be down and there is a greater likelihood of getting injured.
“In more serious cases, players can also get really ill, depending on how much fluid they lose.”
In today’s conditions, Cullen said the club went to extra measures to ensure the players’ wellbeing on field.
She said the hydration, the replacement of body salts and body temperatures were all major focuses of the staff on duty.
“Throughout the training session we must have gone through over 100 litres of fluid in one session and there were probably about five or six of us who went around with Powerade or water,” she said,
“We had Powerade, we had water, we had ice towels and we had bags with ice in them so they could put them on their necks or under their arms to try and cool them.
“We were really focused on bringing that body temperature down so it reduced the amount of sweating they needed to do.
“Today we also had icy poles, which were made up of sodium, magnesium, potassium and a bit of glucose in them, so that was just trying to cool internally and also replace salts.”
A number of Swans players lost high levels of fluid in today’s training session, with big forward Sam Reid registering the highest loss of 3.7kg in fluid with co-captain Adam Goodes not far behind, losing 3.4kg.
To counter the effects of fluid loss, Cullen said measures were taken to ensure the players were able to fully recover after training in such conditions.
“Once the boys come off from training they have to weigh out and then subtract the amount of fluid they’ve lost,” she said.
“To optimise their recovery, they need to take in one-and-a-half times what they’ve lost. If they have lost three litres, then they need to put in four-and-a-half litres on top of their normal intake.
“They also need sodium, so for every litre of fluid or sweat they lose, they need about three grams of salt.
“We also encourage ice baths and cold showers after just to keep their temperature down and we also recommend they stay out of the sun and out of the heat for the rest of the day.”