Athletes in the Heat

By: Candace White
By: Candace White

The panhandle hasn't been immune to the heat wave that's burned the nation. Now that school's back in session, football players, cheerleaders and other athletes are getting back into the rhythm of practices.

Coaches are taking measures to protect their kids from heat-related illnesses.

Well folks, it's gonna be another scorcher. We seem to hear that most every day, but for students hitting the field it can be a hot, sticky and sometimes dangerous situation.

Studies show that the summer's heat is at its strongest from noon to 4, which cuts into a lot of athletic practice times.

Walter Hodges, Sr., an Arnold HS athlete, said, "We definitely practice around just about the end of the hottest part of the day, and starting out we'd do about 30 minutes. We'd take a shorter run at a slower pace."

A lot of coaches are watching for symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat strokes. Most, if not all, are trained in CPR and take into consideration that some students may not have a lot of physical activity during the summer.

Walter Hodges on the Arnold HS cross country team said, "I've also told them some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and I also get them to run with buddies and make them stay together with a buddy or in a group so that if anybody starts exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, they can stop and walk in."

But sometimes even the best laid plans can't get you around accidents, and coaches aren't the only ones who need to watch out for over-heatings.

"It takes pushing yourself to the limit, but students also have to be able to monitor themselves and be aware of their own bodies and what their bodies are doing."

Doctors recommend lots of water, sleep, and getting enough nutrition. Taking breaks in the shade and staying away from decaffeinated drinks will also help battle the heat.

Parents can help out by letting coaches know about their children's pre-existing conditions like diabetes, which can often limit the body's capacity to handle the heat.

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