2015 Australian Open Heats Up

Heat-related health issues at the Australian Open continue to knock out players

The Australian Open 2015 is in full swing, and after a few cool days, the heat is on.

During the men’s second-round matches, the temperatures soared into the high 90’s, causing several players to experience heat-related health issues.

Some of these issues included heat stroke, cramping, fainting and even hallucinations. Yesterday, Adrian Mannarino learned first-hand how brutal the heat can be at the Australian Open.

Although he was playing a great match against Felice Lopez, seeded No. 12, winning the first two sets 6-4, 6-4 with match points in the third, the heat took over and Mannarino was forced to retire in the fourth set.

Heat issues at the Australian Open are nothing new. During the 2014 Open, temperatures soared above 105 and players dropped like flies, with nine retiring during the first round of match play.

Tournament organizers were highly criticized over the lack of extreme heat policies. This year, officials have implemented a few rule changes, but the tournament director still has the final say when these heat precautions go into effect.

One of the most common heat-related sports issues is cramping, which can affect players of any skill level. Cramping often occurs during extreme heat, but it can pop up in normal conditions, too.

Cramping is when a muscle spasms or contracts and refuses to relax — often due to muscle overuse, strain or dehydration. Athletes often experience cramping in leg muscles.

Cramping is affected by three major factors: fatigue, hydration and fitness level. Combined or alone, these factors can cause a muscle to cramp. Fitness level and conditioning are all a function of training, while hydration is much easier to control.

Proper hydration is important for overall health. Not only does it help keep your muscles from cramping, it may also affect your mental health. Past research has tied dehydration to irritability and anxiety.

One easy indicator of your hydration level is the color of your urine. If it’s very pale yellow, you’re most likely properly hydrated.

If it’s dark yellow or tan, drink up — your body needs water.

Moral of the Aussie Open: stay hydrated, folks.