School Sports Gear Up Under Sun
The Hickman Kewpie football teams have begun two-a-day football practices. Hickman players got a head start on beating the heat by practicing in the morning.
Running, passing, and catching are tiring enough for the Kewpies, but extreme heat makes practice more brutal. The heat isn't just uncomfortable; it can be dangerous. If ignored, dehydration and heat exhaustion can cause injury or even death. Player safety is trainer Stefanie West's top priority.
"There are some athletes that have trouble during practice, and I monitor that as needed," she said.
West watches for signs of exhaustion and gives players water or applies cold towels to players who need to cool down. West says players shouldn't get to that point though; they need to prepare in advance. The best way to prepare, she says, is to drink water. A cold drink of water isn't always enough, so trainers tell athletes more ways to stay safe.
"Salting their food a little extra, make sure they're eating healthy, stay away from the soda or anything that's going to dehydrate them in the long run, and really hydrate the week before," West said. "Get out in the heat a little bit so they're kind of getting used to that."
Although practices are set to run until about 3 p.m., coaches and trainers are prepared to adjust.
"As always the coaches keep an eye out on their next practices if they even wear helmets or pads," West said. "If it's too hot, they won't. So it's just kind of a day by day monitoring of it."
"It's something that you always have to constantly evaluate, and modify your practices as you say, as the temperature rises," said coach Jason Wright.