What do Mark Spitz, Brett Favre and Nick Markakis have in common, besides being world class athletes? They also live with acid reflux. Years of high- level training with acid reflux has undoubtedly meant learning some work arounds at home and on the road. If you are an athlete and are living with reflux, trying some of these suggestions may help you to perform at your best.
1. Talk to your coach. Most likely, your coach will be familiar with acid reflux. However, he or she won’t know how your particular reflux symptoms behave, and what may cause a flare up. For example, if doing sit ups as a warm up exercise will put you at risk for a bad practice, let him know that another exercise such as planking may be a better warm up for you.
2. Bring a water bottle. These days, most teams have access to water. However, there is always the random chance that someone forgot to carry out the team water or an away venue was not prepared for their guests. Being able to drink water after a reflux episode can be key, so be sure you bring your own water as a backup.
3. Do NOT eat before practice. This idea may be obvious, but not always possible if you are a student. If your lunch break comes late in the day, you may need to substitute a light snack for lunch, and then eat after practice. Also choose easy to digest foods such as bananas, peanut butter and whole grain bread instead of greasy pizza on practice days.
4. Help plan the team dinners. Some teams make eating a part of their weekly ritual. If this is your team, make sure you help the team decide where to dine. You do not have to mention to them that your reflux is driving your decision. Helping with the team dinner will allow you to choose a place that you know will have reflux friendly choices on the menu.
5. Know the medication rules for bus trips. Some schools have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs. This means that you could be expelled for taking an antacid on the bus to the away competition. While this is unlikely to happen, stranger things have happened. Talk to your school nurse about getting what advance permission you need in advance to take medication as needed either before or after the away competitions.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.