American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Heat and cold illnesses during distance running.

L. E. Armstrong*, Y. Epstein, J. E. Greenleaf, E. M. Haymes, R. W. Hubbard, W. O. Roberts, P. D. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Many recreational and elite runners participate in distance races each year. When these events are conducted in hot or cold conditions, the risk of environmental illness increases. However, exertional hyperthermia, hypothermia, dehydration, and other related problems may be minimized with pre-event education and preparation. This position stand provides recommendations for the medical director and other race officials in the following areas: scheduling; organizing personnel, facilities, supplies, equipment, and communication; providing competitor education; measuring environmental stress; providing fluids; and avoiding potential legal liabilities. This document also describes the predisposing conditions, recognition, and treatment of the four most common environmental illnesses: heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hypothermia, and frostbite. The objectives of this position stand are: 1) To educate distance running event officials and participants about the most common forms of environmental illness including predisposing conditions, warning signs, susceptibility, and incidence reduction. 2) To advise race officials of their legal responsibilities and potential liability with regard to event safety and injury prevention. 3) To recommend that race officials consult local weather archives and plan events at times likely to be of low environmental stress to minimize detrimental effects on participants. 4) To encourage race officials to warn participants about environmental stress on race day and its implications for heat and cold illness. 5) To inform race officials of preventive actions that may reduce debilitation and environmental illness. 6) To describe the personnel, equipment, and supplies necessary to reduce and treat cases of collapse and environmental illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)i-x
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1996


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