Putting athlete health first - Heat stress protocol

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 4, 2016 - Kay Matysik may have been disappointed to forfeit the Fortaleza Open gold medal match on Sunday, but was able to do so in line with the measures put in place by the FIVB to ensure the health of players in extreme temperatures.

Matysik and his long-time partner Jonathan Erdmann pulled out towards the end of the tie-break so as to avoid any long-term damage and in doing so allowed Brazil’s Oscar Brandao and Andre Stein to claim their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medals.

In 2009 the FIVB began a three-year study into how heat affects players based on the 32.3-degrees Celsius Wet Globe Bulb Temperature (WGBT) that measures air temperature, humidity, wind speed and sunlight strength and which is the temperature at which the US Navy advises the cessation of physical activity.

During the study referees took four temperature measurements before matches with the referee to include any forfeitures in his report, though over the three-year study no forfeits occurred.

There continued to be the recording of figures over the 2015 season, with no cases of heat exhaustion and so there is the recommendation that players, including under-age categories, who are well acclimatized to exercise under hot and humid conditions, can compete under conditions well above a WBGT of 32.

"With seven years of data from 119 FIVB events, the heat stress protocol will continue to play a vital part in ensuring the health and well-being of beach volleyball players on the World Tour and at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships," FIVB Executive Vice-President in charge of the Medical Commission Dr. Amr Elwani said. "It is very important we have these regulations in place, especially for the safety of our athletes. They are playing some outstanding beach volleyball in very testing conditions but it is very important that the regulations in place allow them to continue to play but also protect them and their health in extreme conditions." 

Related information:
- FIVB Heat Stress Monitoring Protocol Report
- New guidelines are needed to manage heat stress in elite sports – The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Heat Stress Monitoring Programme


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