Irvington Blue Knights


It is important for athletes to get the proper nutrition while training and competing in high school athletics. The proper diet in conjunction with exercise can help reduce the percentage of body fat and increase the amount of lean muscle mass. With a proper diet containing the proper balance of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water an athlete is able to perform at higher levels of competition and able to exercise for longer periods of time. Also, the proper balance of nutrition can allow for an increase in health, allowing for quicker recovery after exercise or even injury.

The following are some rules to remember for proper nutrition for athletes:

  1. It is important for athletes to always eat breakfast. Eating breakfast helps boost your metabolism throughout the day, keeping your appetite in control.
  2. Drink plenty of water. It is beneficial for athletes to drink between 8-10 8oz glasses of water a day prior to practice or competition. This will help ensure the proper hydration during the work out preventing dehydration.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Include portions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins. When in doubt, follow the food guide pyramid. It is a good source for direction on what types of food to eat and how much. (They have re-done the food guide pyramid in 2008 to include activity as well as a balanced diet)
  4. Eat well balanced snacks throughout the day. They are a good way to boost energy and metabolism through the day prior to competition and practice.

Protective headgear has helped significantly decrease the number and severity of brain injuries sustained in sports, thus mandating their use in athletics. The incidences of skull fractures and lacerations in the areas directly covered by helmets have been virtually eliminated. The symptoms of head injuries can increase over time, putting them at risk of further brain injury if not monitored properly. It can take up to 48 hours after a brain injury for the symptoms to become evident.

A concussion is known as a clinical symptoms of traumatic brain injury (mild brain injury). It is characterized as immediate but transient posttraumatic impairment of brain function.

Symptoms include:

  1. Confusion
  2. Vacant stare
  3. Delayed verbal and motor responses
  4. Inability to focus attention
  5. Disorientation
  6. Slurred or incoherent speech
  7. Vertigo or Dizziness (balance problems)
  8. Heightened emotions (Irritability)
  9. Memory deficits
  10. Nausea
  11. Visual changes (blurred vision)

Treatment of concussions is very serious. The brain must have time to recover from the traumatic impact. The athlete must be 1 week symptom free before being tested for return to play. This criteria includes, cardiovascular testing, and sport specific drills before full return to play status can be determined.

Second Impact Syndrome:
If an athlete is returned to athletics before the concussion has completely resolved, there is an increased chance of sustaining a second blow to the head, leading to second impact syndrome. If this occurs, the athlete displays symptoms of a mild concussion, but quickly collapses into a semicomatose state. Even in the best-case scenario where the athlete is immediately treated, there is a 50 percent mortality rate. This is why the athlete must be 1 week symptom free before consideration of pre-participation testing even occurs. It is important to have the cooperation of the athlete and the athlete’s parents as well as the athletic training staff and coaches to monitor the athlete’s symptoms.

Management of heat injuries and illnesses requires treatment with cool water for re-hydration. Electrolytes, especially salt, need to be replaced within the athlete’s body. Such electrolytes can be found in sport drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, etc. Dehydration signs and symptoms include thirst, irritability, and general discomfort in the beginning initial stages and can intensify into headaches, weakness, dizziness, cramps, chills, vomiting, nausea, and decreased performance in the late stages. If not treated properly or detected, dehydration can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are managed by controlling symptoms of dehydration with replacement of electrolytes and fluids. While on the field, heat cramps should be stretched and massaged until the cramp subsides. If the cramp is not resolved, the athlete may be brought to the side lines where ice bags can be placed upon the cramping muscle. Fluids are administered to the athlete for re-hydration. The athlete may return to play once the cramping subsides. Re-hydration is encouraged through out competition.

Heat Syncope

Heat syncope (fainting) is often in conjunction with heat exhaustion. Fainting spells are caused by hot, humid environments. The unconsciousness or dizziness associated with syncope occurs in the absence of an elevated core temperature. The athlete should be removed from activity and allowed to relax in a cool environment. Fluids should be replenished and core body temperature should be decreased with cold compresses in areas where arteries are more superficial to the surface of the body (ie back of the knees, groin area, armpits, and neck).

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is characterized by sudden, extreme fatigue as the body attempts to supply blood to the brain, exercising muscles, and skin. This is generally caused by a decrease in water, salt and electrolytes within the body. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive urination. All of these are predisposing factors to heat stroke if not treated properly. Individuals suffering from heat exhaustion have a rectal temperature of 103 degrees F and present with profuse sweating, causing the skin to feel cold and clammy. Pulse and respiration are rapid, but loss of fluids cause the pulse to feel weak and reduces blood pressure. Individuals with heat exhaustion generally complain of a headache and appear to be fatigued and confused.

Heat Stroke

Those suffering from heat stroke are considered a medical emergency. Heat stroke is the failure and subsequent shutdown of the body’s ability to control the body’s temperature. Those suffering from heat stroke do not appear to be sweating. Heat stroke can occur within a matter of hours during exercise in hot humid weather. Violent behavior followed by unconsciousness is a classic characteristic of heat stroke. The athlete’s skin may feel hot compared with the expected findings of heat exhaustion, in which the skin tend to feel damp and cool. The body’s core temperature will increase to that more than 105 degrees F. This puts the body’s organs, especially the brain at a tremendous risk. As brain function diminishes, the pupils become fixed and dilated. If untreated, death may occur from heat stroke after 20 minutes. The body must be cooled in the same manner as that described for heat exhaustion and treatment by a doctor.

The proper hydration of an athlete plays one of the most important roles in an athlete’s performance. With the proper hydration the athlete is more apt to have a higher level of performance. It is important to hydrate throughout the day, as this will increase the hydration level within the body.

In general, the following guidelines should be followed to ensure proper hydration for athletes prior to and during practice or competition:

  1. The sensation of thirst should not be relied on as an indicator of needing fluids. As the thirst sensation arises, the body has already lost 1.5-2.0 liters of water. Hydration should occur prior to and during activity.
  2. Athletes should become used to consuming fluids without the sensation of thirst. A helpful trick: carry water with you at all times. Consumption of water is more likely to occur if water is readily available.
  3. Enough fluids should be consumed during activity for the athlete to produce clear colored urine after activity. Dark colored urine indicates that the athlete is dehydrated.
  4. Approximately 1-1.5 hours prior to exercise the athlete should consume a large volume of fluid (up to half a liter) to assure adequate hydration and to improve gastric emptying. After this, the athlete should sip on fluids (approximately half a cup every 10 minutes) to maintain proper hydration.
  5. Athletes should consume fluid as frequently and in as high volume as can be tolerated to replace water losses.
  6. Avoid foods and drinks that may have diuretic (water-losing) impact. For example, caffeine and related substances commonly found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and sodas cause an increase in the rate as which water is lost. Therefore, these substances should be avoided.

Benardot, Dan (2000). Nutrition for Serious Athletes. Champaign, IL: Dan Benardot

There are numerous dermatologic conditions that can arise in athletics. The majority of them are spread through close contact and open wounds. The best way to prevent such conditions from spreading is early diagnosis, treatment, and proper hygiene.

Athletes may follow the Skin Infection Prevention Program

  1. Check skin daily for breaks or abnormalities.
  2. Make sure all wounds are reported, examined, cleaned and appropriately treated. Cover all wounds, including scrapes, scratches and cuts securely before competition.
  3. Have your physician evaluate any skin infection or lesion. The athlete must have a NJSIAA physician release that clears the athlete of contangious disease before they may compete in an event or participate in any practices.
  4. Shower with soapy water immediately before and after each event.
  5. Avoid abrasive uniforms and equipment which may cause skin sores and predispose athletes toward infection.
  6. Never share equipment or uniforms.
  7. Keep uniforms clean.
  8. Wear full lengh pants and long sleeve t-shirts, especially during practice sessions.
  9. Keep nails trim an clean.
  10. Never share towels or soap.
  11. If a skin sore is present, dry the infected area last with a towl to avoid spreading the infection to uninfected areas.
  12. Make sure athletic equipment, locker rooms, weight rooms and showers are disinfected beore and after each event.

Kimmel, Craig MD. A guide to Infectious Skin Diseases in Wrestlers. Memorial Health Alliance. 1999.

The following are four major dermatological conditions which need to be recognized and treated early to prevent spreading to other athletes.

Methecillin Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA):
Most individuals carry MRSA, but it never causes us harm. However, sometimes the bacteria gets inside the body through open wounds or close contact and can cause infection. Anyone can get MRSA. MRSA has become resistant to most antibiotics.

MRSA can be identified by the following: Sores that look and feel like spider bites (MRSA is NOT caused by spider) Large, red, painful bumps under the skin (called boils) A cut that is swollen, hot and filled with pus Blisters filler with fluid (called Impetigo)

An active MRSA infection can be treated by one of the following: Drain the infection Give antibiotics Reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin (clean with antibacterial soap and water, antibiotic ointment)

Caused by bacterial infection. Usually spread by direct contact, open wounds, or from contaminated equipment. The rash generally begins as small red blisters on somewhat reddened skin. The blisters usually break open and form a honey-colored scab that may itch. Diagnosis must be confirmed by a physician. Wound cultures are generally done to confirm diagnosis. ntreated, impetigo may cause serious medical problems, including kidney damage. Treatment usually includes antibiotic pills and usually resolves itself within two weeks. Small sores can treated with antibiotic ointment.

Ringworm (tinea corporis) is a fungal infecion which can be found anywhere on the body. It is called “ringworm” because of its circular appearance on the skin. It is caused by a plant fungus which grows on the skin. There are NO worms in ringworm. The rash is more common in warm climats. Ringworm is spread to humans by dogs or cats, especially young ones. It may be spread by direct contact from an infected towel or mat Ringworm is charcterized by a rash that usually begins as a flat, scaly spot or spots in the shape of a small red or brown circle. The rash spreads as an enlarging circle witha scaly border and may have small bumps or blisters on the leading edge. As it grows, the center fades to a lighter brown or red. Diagnosis can be made by means of a physician through examination or rash scrapings under microscope. Sometimes, cultures or biopsy specimens are required. Treatment of mild cases can be treated with creams such as Lotrimin or Nizoral. They should be used 2-3 times per days for 2-4 weeks or until 1 week after the rash completely disappears. Severe cases may require the treatment of an oral pill consisting of antifungal agents (Griseofluvin or Nizoral tablets) and may take up to 3 months to clear up.

Herpes Simplex:
Herpes simplex is a viral infection. There are two types of Herpes Simplex (Type I and Type II). Type II is commonly associated with genital herpes and Type I is associated with cold sores and fever blisters. Both types of herpes viruses can inect any part of the human body. The herpes somplex virus is highly contagious. It can be spread through direct contact with an acute rash or rash fluid, respiratory secretions. Within 2-24 hours of inection, most individuals will develop flu like symptoms before the rash starts. The athlete may develop fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, swollen glands, or sore throat. The rash may begin as a burning or tingling sensation on the skin. Small red bumps form, which become clusters of tiny blisters filled with cloudy fluid. THe skin surrounding these blisters is generally red and inflammed. The blisters collapse and form yellow-brown scabs within 2-4 days. The scabs will generally heal within 2 weeks. There is no cure for herpes simplex and will generlly reoccur. Most physicians will diagnose a pill called Acyclovir (Zovirax) which can decrease symptoms, but not cure herpes simplex.


Irvington High School has partnered with the Athlife Foundation to create an Athletic Advisor position within the high school for our student-athletes. The Athletic Advisor will help our student-athletes become both college and career ready when they graduate from Irvington High School. We would like to see our student-athletes become well-rounded individuals, both in school and within their community, now and in the future. Some of the responsibilities of the Athletic Advisor will include the following:

  • Being a mentor
  • Tracking the students academic progress
  • Preparing them for the SAT
  • Creating School and Community Service projects

I have included the link to the Athlife website for informational purposes.

Please contact me if you have any further questions regarding Athlife or our Athletic Advisor position at or (973) 399-6897 ext. 1839.



Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes Pamphlet
The basic facts on sudden cardiac death in young atheletes by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


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