In some places, the first week of practice may be the most dangerous of the entire high school football season. While there’s less contact involved, the season beginning at the hottest time of the year manifests different dangers. Specifically, teams must find a way to avoid heat-related illnesses that can sometimes be lethal.
One of the hottest states that’s beginning high school practices today is Kansas, where the temperature is around 108 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Times Record’s Jonathan Hull.
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Several coaches and athletic trainers spoke with the Record about the issue, including Electra head coach Josh McKiddy, with this clean right hook at coaches who push their players too far in the heat.
“We’ve been practicing it all summer…Be aware of the excessive heat and pay attention to your kids. You occasionally see stories about kids getting sick because coaches don’t consider the effect the heat can have on kids. If you’re so stubborn, you’re gonna ignore that, well, that’s a pretty big personal issue.”
As for specifics, some schools are starting their practices early in the morning – such as Hirschi and Wichita Walls, which kick off their practices today at 8 a.m. Other schools have made hydration mandatory.
There are also hard lines in some cases, like one district, which will not allow outdoor practices to occur if the heat index reaches 111.
McKiddy added: “UIL [University Interscholastic League] has required safety training that covers what to look for regarding heat stroke, but we take measures beyond that,” he noted. “We have an action plan in place for different coaches to know where the nearest ice machine is and things like that. Each coach has a different responsibility on who they’re supposed to contact or what they’re supposed to do in case of an emergency.”
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