May 27 (Reuters) - The National Women’s Soccer League in the United States will review start times for its games after English international Rachel Daly collapsed at the end of a match in Houston on Saturday.
Houston Dash’s Daly was reported by the team to be “improving” after being taken to hospital suffering from “heat illness” following the home side’s nationally-televised match against Seattle Reign.
The game at Houston’s Compass Stadium began at 3 p.m. local time and was played in temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), with high humidity sending the heat index soaring to triple figures.
“The safety of our players is always our top priority and due to the high temperature today in Houston, we implemented water breaks to provide additional opportunities to help the players stay hydrated,” the league said in a statement.
“Prior to the season, we also worked with the Dash on scheduling any nationally televised afternoon games earlier in the year in an attempt to avoid the summer heat that unfortunately we experienced today.
“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future.”
Seattle coach Laura Harvey said the fact it had been a Houston player who had collapsed was evidence that acclimatisation went only so far.
“If it had been a Seattle player who had gone down the way (Daly) did we could say it was because we’re not used to the heat,” Harvey told the Houston Chronicle.
”The fact those guys train in this every day and it still affects them proves it doesn’t matter. You can’t prepare for it.”
Forward Daly, 25, scored four goals in 16 games in her first season with the Dash in 2016. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford; )