Monday, June 24, 2019
I woke up very early today. Somehow, I have been unable to sleep more than a few hours each night. Guess I am still adjusting to this country and all that I am doing here.
I dashed down to the gym to have my fitness exercises as soon as we finished doing the TENS for 2 hours for the various muscle groups as well as the rather taut knee capsule. Things are improving. Had a session at the gym then went to have my breakfast.
Registering to be a volunteer
As I have decided to volunteer during the AFCON happening at this same time I am in Cairo, I needed to have myself registered. Moa had told me yesterday that I would have to take a 40-minute drive to the gigantic Cairo International Stadium to do the necessary paperwork. On our way, I noticed how wide the roads were. Three-lane and 4-lane roads are quite a normal thing here. The housing is also well-planned, even in the poorer districts. I would write about that in the future. Finally, we arrived at the stadium where all the accreditation is done and we were through after about 2 hours of waiting.
Bafana Bafana v Elephants and the renewed call for Water Breaks
South Africa came to Al Salem this afternoon to face the 2015 AFCON Champions in this group of death. Temperatures were read as high as 34-36 degrees Celsius and there were calls from many interested people: organisers, journalists and team handlers to have the Match Chief Medical Officer to call for water breaks during the match. A journalist wrote, “I saw the Ivorian players sweating during the recitation of the National Anthems yet there were no water breaks.”
However, Dr Paul Gaspar Marealle, an Orthopaedic surgeon from Tanzania to whom I am attached, is a stickler to the rules. He had his wet bulb globe thermometer brought into use at 90minutes before the game and 30 minutes before the game.
Unlike the temperatures measured by fans using only temperature weather forecasts, the WBGT heat stress is calculated by the Liljegren method where climatic variables of temperature, humidity, solar radiation and wind speed are used in a rational thermodynamic heat exchange model. A WBGT device, which Dr Paul uses, is a measurement tool that uses ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind, and solar radiation from the sun to get a measure that can be used to monitor environmental conditions during exercise.
The WBGT was invented in the 1950s for the US Army and Marine Corps. It works in this fashion:
Two thermometers mounted together in the same device calculates the difference between ambient temperature. The wet-bulb thermometer measures relative humidity and allows the clinician to then derive the heat index. The Heat Index is how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored into the ambient temperature.
Suffice to say that the basic environmental temperature isn’t what is used by Football Authorities in determining whether or not a water break is necessary – but the heat index of the stadium 90 minutes and 30 minutes before the game. WBGT is a more comprehensive representation of environmental conditions. In its adaptation, Solar radiation and wind speed are factored into the decision making process.
Previously, The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF had said that it would apply a FIFA rule that allows for two cooling/water breaks during games as a means to combat rising temperatures across host nation, Egypt.
CAF said two three-minute breaks on the half-hour mark and on the 75th-minute mark will be observed during fixtures.
A media advisory title “Medical Report on Temperature during AFCON” read in part: “… the average (dry) temperature in June / July is expected to be between 35°C, with the average humidity of 40% to 60%.
“This will give a high WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe) temperature above 32°C. It is certain that most teams will be aware of this and train accordingly,” the advisory added. Today, however, the environmental temperature I checked online just before the game was about 37 degrees Celsius with 25% humidity. It thus explains why there were no water breaks in the match which took place this afternoon.
In the end, CIV defeated South Africa by a lone goal. Doping control measures were completed in the stadium less than 3 hours after and I was home by 9 pm. I have to sleep now – and hopefully reset my system.
Unto the next one, tomorrow!
Warm regards from Cairo,
Babatunde ‘Dr Tee’ AKINBINU