HHH 2015: Hydration Hazards

HHH 2015: Hydration Hazards

While you couldn't feel the heat in the air today, you could definitely feel a buzz as volunteers gathered this afternoon to gear up for the "Super Bowl" of Wichita Falls: The Hotter'N Hell Hundred.

Avid cyclist and HHH Medical Director Dr. Keith Williamson says the Hotter'N Hell is one of the best managed medical rides in the nation. "We'll have 40-50 doctors, several hundred nurses, and a number hospital techs and pharmacists," Dr. Williamson said.

In just over a week the Scott Street Bridge will be filled with thousands and thousands of cyclists, all looking to cross the finish line in the Hotter'N Hell Hundred. Riders will need plenty of water during the race, but not too much.

"Your inclination is when you see an athlete working in the heat and sweating you say, 'drink, drink drink.' It turns out we've overemphasized that to the point where the most severe illness we see at the HHH is water intoxication," Dr. Williamson explained.

No matter what the heat related illness this year, cyclists will be be able to beat the heat faster. Instead of the traditional open air medical tent, a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) and a Command Control and Logistics Unit (C2L) will be stationed by the finish line.

"It gives us access to a large controlled space that's air conditioned! So we'll actually be able to help the riders cool down after they are heat this year," Williamson said.

The changes are all part of an effort to improve rider safety, and keep people coming back for years to come.

"Because," as Dr. Williamson said, "there's a much higher chance that survivors will come back next year."

The Mobile Medical Unit will be traveling to Wichita Falls from the Metroplex, and will arrive one week from today. Also making the trip into town for the race? Fifteen doctors from Fort Worth, who specialize in sports medicine.

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6