Keeping young athletes safe in the heat

Keeping young athletes safe in the heat

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - The oppressive heat is causing a lot of concern for athletes as they practice for the fall football season. And local football coaches ask that you make sure your kids are safe in the sun.​

Heat exhaustion is a big concern for coaches and athletes with the start of football season right around the corner.​

When it comes to beating the heat, keeping athletes hydrated is key. That’s why coaches and trainers at Muscle Shoals High School stress the importance of athletes staying hydrated, especially during long practices as temperatures soar.

Coaches, parents, and athletes need to pay attention to the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

If an athlete is playing in the hot sun and starts to experience light headiness, dizziness or vomiting, it’s time to stop.

Experts say kids should be taking a water and shade break every 15 to 30 minutes to avoid getting get sick.

“It gets hot, especially on this turf, it makes it even hotter," said football player Caleb McDougal.

“Very essential, very Important that athletes stay hydrated,” said head trainer Kyle Ford

Even in nearly 100 degree weather, Ford says he pushes the kids to work hard. But he also keeps a close eye on them.​

“The nausea, the dizziness, the light-headiness is what they need to look out for, and if they don’t feel right, just make sure they monitor their bodies and don’t be afraid to come up to me and let me know," he said.

Ford says he keeps cold towels, ice, water and sports drinks close by at every practice and game.​

“They try to get us to drink about a gallon a day, and in between periods they let us get water, get as much as we can," said another player, Javar Strong.

Ford says he doesn’t take chances. He gives his players water and shade breaks every 15 to 30 minutes to avoid getting sick.

“When I hear about the news of a young man going down from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, that just makes me want to do my job so much better," said Ford.

The heat index is expected to hit triple digits. That’s why coaches are making sure their players are drinking as much water as they can.

If your child is an athlete, they will need to be drinking at least 64-120 ounces of water or Gatorade a day.

Ford says it’s vital that kids stay hydrated before getting on the field.

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