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Forecasting feels-like temperatures as a strategy to reduce heat illnesses during sport events
  1. Milan Klöwer1,2,
  2. Pascal Edouard3,4,
  3. Andreas M Niess5,
  4. Sebastien Racinais6,
  5. Yannis P Pitsiladis7,
  6. Florian Pappenberger8,
  7. Karsten Hollander9
  1. 1 Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Planetary Physics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  3. 3 Inter-university Laboratory of Human Movement Biology (EA 7424), Université Jean Monnet, Lyon 1, Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, Saint-Etienne, France
  4. 4 Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, Sports Medicine Unit, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, Faculty of Medicine, Saint-Etienne, France
  5. 5 Department of Sports Medicine, University Hospital of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
  6. 6 Research and Scientific Support, ASPETAR - Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  7. 7 School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK
  8. 8 European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
  9. 9 IInstitute of Interdisciplinary Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, MSH Medical School Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Karsten Hollander, Institute of Interdisciplinary Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, MSH Medical School Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany; karsten.hollander{at}

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Many athletes, amateur and professional alike, compete in and train for outdoor running events every year, and even more participate in outdoor sports in general. Many major sport events such as the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games and World Championships take place in summer and mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. Therefore, athletes are often at risk of sustaining heat illnesses during heat extremes, which are exacerbated by climate change.1

Heat illnesses describe a group of pathologies ranging from relatively minor to very severe symptoms such as potentially fatal exertional heat stroke.2 3 The risk for heat illnesses increases with high air temperature, high solar radiation, high humidity, low wind speed and strenuous exercise requiring continuous muscle work.4 There are different strategies to prepare athletes for exercising in the heat, and thus reduce the risk for heat illnesses including acclimatisation, acclimation, hydration and cooling strategies.5 However, to properly implement those strategies, the forecasting of the environmental conditions prior to the event is paramount, but the timing of the forecasting depends on the strategy to be implemented.

Anticipation of the expected temperature can be done by the consultation of a location’s climate data from recent decades.6 The latest International Olympic Committee consensus statement on sport events in the heat recommends that bidding cities provide retrospective weather data for the 10 previous years and proactively measure environmental conditions at the respective competition venues.5 However, the variability of weather superimposed …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The acknowledgement statement has been updated.

  • Contributors MK, PE and KH were responsible for the concept. MK and KH were responsible for the drafting of the manuscript. All authors had substantial contributions to the collection and interpretation of the data, revising the draft and approved the submission of this manuscript.

  • Funding MK gratefully acknowledge funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ITHACA grant no. 741112).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.