Sport and leisure activities in the heat: What safety resources exist?

J Sci Med Sport. 2021 Aug;24(8):781-786. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2021.05.016. Epub 2021 May 28.


Objectives: To conduct a document analysis of sports and leisure activity heat-related injury prevention resources in Australia and develop an understanding of the content within those resources.

Design & methods: Heat resources were included if they dealt specifically with, or could be extrapolated to, prevention of heat-related injuries. Collating strategies for the catalogue included: (1) a detailed search of the organisation's website and (2) an online search for sport specific heat resources. A content analysis of each resource was first performed, and descriptive codes were assigned to the data using qualitative data analysis software. Every coded text was recorded as an individual data point (n). Common sub-categories were identified by thematic analysis and collated under three broader categories.

Results: A total of 468 data points were identified within the 64 heat resources found. Guidelines (n = 20) and policies (n = 18) were the most common type of resources followed by factsheets (n = 9), webpages (n = 8), laws and by-laws (n = 2). Three overarching categories emerged through the data analysis process: preventive strategies (n = 299, 63.9%), risk factors (n = 94, 20.1%), treatment (n = 75, 16.0%). Activity modification, which included information on rescheduling games and extra breaks, was the most common intervention. Cricket, soccer, swimming and triathlon had the most complete set of heat resources.

Conclusions: The findings of this study provide an insight into the composition of heat-related sports injury prevention resources within Australia and identify areas for development. As the resources were incomplete for many sports, the development of more comprehensive heat safety resources is required to ensure the safety of participants.

Keywords: Activity modification; Heat stress; Injury prevention; Risk mitigation; Safety promotion; Thermal limits.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Health Policy*
  • Heat Stress Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Organizational Policy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Sports Medicine / organization & administration