Summer is time for football players to begin preparing for the upcoming season, but with humid temperatures in the 80s and 90s, it’s not always fun in the sun.
Naperville Central High School Head Football Coach, Mike Stine, understands that every time his team takes the field on hot humid days they are at risk.
“Once we get on the field our kids can really get water whenever they need to.
Each drill is 15 minutes long so the longest they will go without water is 15 minutes if they feel they need it they can get a drink in between that time,” says Coach Stine.
Training in the heat causes body temperature to rise and if not properly hydrated a heat illness can occur, but sometimes proper hydration isn’t enough to keep the body temperature down.
“The National Athletic Training Association issued a position statement and it has to do with how hot the temperature is in comparison to the humidity outside.
There are different levels you can match up, it’s in a chart. Say on hotter days humid days practice should be helmets only, shoulder pads only. You kind of go off that chart and tailor your practice to the outside environment,” says Assistant Athletic Director at Naperville Central High School, Matt Nohren.
Coaches are specially trained to push an athlete to their potential without crossing the line to exhaustion. There are certain warning signs coaches and athletic trainers must be able to detect such as, paleness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and reacting slower than usual.
“That’s kind of a key for me to go check on them say, ‘Hey how’s it going what’s going on?’ See if they are getting over heated and see if we can get them to a shaded area and try to cool them back down a little bit,” says Nohren.
Experts say, while staying hydrated on the field is important, it’s what you do off the field that’s the key to prevention.
Senior running back at Naperville Central, Matt Randolph, always maintains the proper liquid intake.
“When I get back home, I’m always drinking Gatorade and I’m always drinking water as much as I can I just carry around water and drink them all day make sure you are staying hydrated for the next day,” says, Randolph.
Experts say to ensure the best possible hydration; athletes should avoid carbonated beverages and fast food because of the high sodium. As for the battle between water and sports drinks, Nohren believes a mixture is fine.
“I normally try to say electrolytes before just to try to replenish if they lost anything. Then during competition we have unlimited access to water,” says Nohren.
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury, 46 football players died from heat stroke since 1995, 35 were in high school. For more information on prevention from heat illness visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at bt.cdc.gov.
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