Tennis Pros Feel the Heat

2015 US Open tennis players may battle dehydration and injuries


As New York temperatures approach the triple digits, US Open Tennis Tournament players may face a very unfriendly foe: the heat itself.

Luckily, a team of doctors is there to help by warning athletes about heat-related health risks, recommending precautions and treating problems if they do occur.

"When it's 90 degrees out there and it really feels like over a hundred — especially on the courts, they're almost like saunas — they've got to pay special attention to staying well-hydrated," James Gladstone, MD, a medical services provider at the 2015 US Open and co-chief of sports medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, told CBS News.

The doctors are accompanied by specialized trainers and massage therapists to respond to any injuries on the spot. Courtside, portable ultrasound machines will also be available this year to help doctors evaluate injuries.

"Any time there's any kind of medical time-out or a player calls for a trainer, you have both a trainer and a doctor who go to the call," Dr. Gladstone said.

There are two types of injuries that typically plague pro tennis players: acute injuries garnered in practice or play, and overuse injuries that are chronic and must be treated before every match. But in the searing New York summer heat, the players must also guard against heat stroke.

"They have to be careful about things like heat stroke, dehydration at a rapid pace, and, obviously, protecting yourself from the sun," Dr. Gladstone said.

The heat is also a concern in the US Open bleacher audience, so fans need to take steps to prevent hydration, sunburn and excessive alcohol consumption, which further dehydrates the body.