Exertional heat illnesses (EHI) can occur when sport is played in hot and humid environments, such as those common across Asia. Measures to reduce the risk of EHI are important; however, causal data on EHI occurrence are limited and challenging to capture. To gain an initial understanding of EHI risks, we aimed to assess the risk perceptions of EHI of youth cricketers.
A descriptive cross-sectional survey, comprised of 14 questions on EHI risks, was conducted with 365 Sri Lankan junior male cricketers (age=12.9±0.9 years) who typically play in hot and humid conditions.
For climate related risks, relative humidity was perceived as having a low risk of EHI compared with ambient temperature. The EHI risk associated with wearing protective gear, as commonly used in cricket, was perceived as low. Most junior cricketers perceived a low level of risk associated with recommended preventive measures such as body cooling and heat-acclimatisation.
This is the first study to explore EHI risk perceptions in any sporting context. Young players may not be mindful of all risks. Therefore, leadership and initiative from competition organisers and parents is required to promote countermeasures.