HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The first week of August sees many Tennessee Valley teens heading back to school.
But for teams across North Alabama, the "back to school spirit" is often channeled in their eagerness to return to the football field. The most intense of players have practiced and weight-trained throughout the summer break, ahead of coach-led instruction.
Coaches, too, have been keeping up-to-date on the latest in safety gear and injury response. Coaches from across the area met in Albertville in July for a USA Football safety clinic that included blocking drills designed to minimize helmet impact and head injury.
While coaching staff makes sure the player is conditioned and ready to be at peak performance, it is the responsibility of everyone - parent and player included - to ensure that "body machine" is running smoothly on and off the field.
Athletic trainer Michael Dye says his primary tip to high school athletes is to keep hydrated. With the sheer amount of sweat lost in practice and at game time, staying topped-up with fluids is of utmost importance.
He also recommends student athletes make sure to eat a well-balanced meal.
"When they don't eat enough calories, they 'run out of gas' and they start cramping up," Dye explained.
Above all, Dye said, nothing helps keep the body going more than a good night's rest.
"Go to bed at a decent hour; get your eight hours of sleep," he said.
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