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July 20, 2011 9:00 am

Collateral Damage: Heat Wave


Corey Dawkins and Ben Lindbergh

Halladay gets hot, but not in a good way, a trio of Yankees succumbs to new injuries, and Miguel Tejada's lower abdomen feels the strain.

Roy Halladay, PHI (Heat exhaustion) [AGL: TBD, ATD: TBD]
Heat exhaustion can happen in any weather or sport, not just during summer football two-a-days. Cases have been documented with air temperatures in the 50s. Sweating allows us to cool off our bodies, but doing so excessively comes at a price. By losing fluids, we become progressively more dehydrated, until we can no longer sweat and the thermoregulatory system begins to shut down, depriving us of the ability to cool down our bodies. Once we lose this ability, we are at risk of developing heat illnesses, sometimes a deadly consequence. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all included under the umbrella of “heat illness,” but they are not required to follow that progression.

Heat cramps in the legs, arms, and torso are caused by a combination of salt and fluid depletion and intramuscular fatigue. They’re also an affliction that many do not associate with heat illness. Treatment of heat cramps is straightforward and include cessation of activity while replenishing fluids/electrolytes, usually all that is needed.

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Why, then, did Bechler die of heatstroke, during a half-mile run, in his first week in Spring Training?

On Sunday, heat illness claimed yet another victim in the world of sport, 23-year-old Oriole pitching prospect Steve Bechler. According to reports, he was a little over halfway through a run when he stopped and leaned against a fence. He was observed to be pale, disoriented and complained of nausea. He was taken to the clubhouse by the Orioles medical staff and subsequently sent by ambulance to a hospital, where his condition continued to deteriorate and he died the next morning. The preliminary cause of death was listed as "multiple system organ failure caused by heatstroke."

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Any time a young person dies, it is a tragedy. In Bechler's case, he leaves a young wife expecting their first child in a little over a month.

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