Throughout the heat of the summer, athletes are pressed to keep their bodies hydrated and drink lots of fluids during games or practice.
But how much is too much? That's the question many are asking after the surprising death of Zyrees Oliver. He's the high school football player in Douglas County who died this week after his doctors said he drank two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatorade.
"I'm not even sure how someone could drink that much," said Dr. Bruce Smith.
Doctors say Oliver's case is rare, but water intoxication can bring your body's sodium down to dangerous levels, which could lead to seizures, a coma or death. "You have low sodium levels and then it begins affecting your brain, your brain begins to swell. Cerebral edema, it's called."
Dr. Bruce Smith says it's common for athletes to drink a lot of fluids before practice or a game, but moderation is always important. "If you're going to do what they call 'water loading' before you do a sport like football in hot weather, two glasses of water is what's recommended."
In South Georgia heat especially, he says athletes should focus on drinking water every 20 minutes during a game or practice and keep up with their water weight gain and loss. "We have more danger here of not having enough water and getting dehydrated."
Dr. Smith also advises athletes should remember to listen to their bodies.
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