Coast Football Champs Tackle Hot Weather - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/21/03

Coast Football Champs Tackle Hot Weather

It takes a lot for the 52 players of the D'Iberville Warriors to remain 4A high school football champions, but practicing on days when the heat index reaches over 100 degrees, players have to tackle more than each other - they have to tackle staying safe in the heat.

"We give them at least 4 or 5 water breaks during the practice and then they are free to get water and then we've got girls out here to go around and kind of cool them off a little bit. That's kind of tough. You know it's really hot right now,"said coach Louis Smith.

But it's not simply about fluid intake.

These guys' health depends on what they do BEFORE they hit the field for two and a half hours everyday.

During their summer break, many of them were conditioned to endure the heat through weightlifting and running, as well as monitoring their diet.

Now, the Warriors are fortunate enough to have a certified athletic trainer on staff to monitor their health on the gridiron. But even so, the only way for these warriors to beat the heat is to take responsibility on and off the field.

"It takes a lot of cooperation from the athletes themselves, their parents , the coaching staff and myself and the managers themselves. It takes a full team effort all the way through. They've got to do that at home because we don't have enough time to do it here and it's not enough for them anyway. Once they reach the thirst point out here, it's pretty much too late for them. They've got to be ready, and they know that we spend a lot of time telling them that and we have big talk with them every year and tell them all the dangers that they face and that it's up to them,"said athletic trainer Donna Swilley.

Heat safety applies to everyone, so here are a few ways for you to keep cool in the heat.

If possible, try to stay out of the sun.

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible to prevent sunburn.

Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids.

Eat small meals, and eat more often.

Consider going to public pools and air-conditioned stores and malls.

By Karla Redditte

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