Just as Florida students returned to school this week, Florida football teams also returned to the practice field. And while a lot of folks consider may football a cool-weather sport, here in Florida players are practicing in the heat of the summer. The temperatures in Florida this week have hovered in the mid- to upper 90’s and some days the heat index has been between 102 and 107 degrees.
These high temperatures can be dangerous for players who have not been acclimated to the heat and diligent in keeping themselves hydrated. High school principals, coaches and trainers have a responsibility to make sure that they keep a constant flow of fluids while the kids are practicing. Just this week six Apopka High players were hospitalized due to heat related illnesses. Luckily, all were released.
According to the Orlando Sentinel,
Last year, Orange County Public Schools adopted guidelines set forth by the National Athletic Trainers Association designed to reduce heat-related illnesses and deaths. The NATA report stated that 29 high school football players have died from heat-related illness since 1995. In 2008, there were four high school heat-stroke deaths and two at the college level.
Coaches are supposed to limit practice once a day the first week of pre-season training. The second week players are allowed to participate in two-adays, which are two practice sessions in the same day. There is also supposed to be adequate recovery time between the two practices. Coaches, trainers, players and parents are urged to visit the Florida High School Association website, www.fhsaa.org, for a guide to staying hydrated and the early signs of heat stroke.