Monitoring hydration is key to riders’ health
Greyton – In a first for the Absa Cape Epic organisers, the stage to Elandskloof near Greyton was shortened by about 40kms. With the heat taking its toll on spectators and riders alike the race organisers felt that a combination of heat and humidity could endanger the health of riders.
A team of nearly 100 staff members ranging from doctors and nurses to paramedics are overseeing the health needs of nearly 1300 riders during the Absa Cape Epic this year. Dr Jann Killops, Chief Medical Officer to the event, believes that the overall health of the riders is a priority for the medical team, “Understanding our riders and their health is of the utmost importance to us. The Mediclinic team attended to 220 patients during the course of Tuesday and 2 patients were transferred for further care to the hospital.”
During a race like the Absa Cape Epic, where riders have exerted themselves over successive days, the level of hydration may become a serious concern. “Riders exhibiting symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, cramping or fatigue may be at risk,” says Dr Killops. The priority is to ensure sufficient rehydration after each day’s stage and when riders present themselves with such symptoms, the doctors may either order a drip or indicate where oral hydration is needed to restore hydration levels.
Mediclinic is the official medical supplier to the event and Pathcare, a pathology laboratory service, are on site within the race hospital to assist doctors and healthcare professionals determine or confirm diagnoses. During stage 1 of the race, more than 90 diagnostic tests were performed. The presence of Pathcare in the race hospital allows for swift decisions to be made around patients’ health by providing accurate pathology results.
“This real-time testing allows the doctors to monitor the on-going hydration levels of the riders under observation. During an average epic stage about 100 tests are performed to measure hydration of the riders,” explains Dr Killops. By ensuring all participants receive the best possible care during the event, these risks can be managed and the riders can continue to perform at highest levels.
While yesterday’s race route was shortened to 62kms because of the intense heat expected, the riders will circuit around Greyton returning to the overnight stop at Elandskloof farm.