Extreme Temperatures Prompt Heat Safety On The Field

By: Alex Lotz Email
By: Alex Lotz Email

BRYAN It's hard to ignore the triple digit temperatures and the humid Texas weather, but football players across the Brazos Valley are suiting up and hitting the heat for the upcoming season. Now, trainers are putting the safety of the athletes first to prevent heat stroke on the field.

"We practice in severe conditions," said Josh Woodall, head athletic trainer for Bryan ISD.

The heat wave has hit the area and athletic trainers are preparing for the sweltering season. "We have Texas heat and we're going to have it all the way into September," Woodall said.

He said they have several district wide policies in place to prevent heat illness. "We would prefer to prevent the illness rather than treat it," the trainer said.

Woodall says he's never seen an athlete have a heat stroke, but heat illness is a serious condition that should be closely monitored. He said there are several levels of heat illness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and lastly, heat stroke.

"We hope we never have to deal with that," Woodall said. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are roughly 650 heat related deaths a year. The trainer says all of these can be preventable with just a few steps. The trainers keep weight charts to make sure the athletes aren't losing too much water. He says water is always provided at practices to make sure the players stay hydrated.

"The old days of practicing 30 or 45 minutes then taking a two minute break and then going back to practice are long gone," Woodall said.

The trainer said they keep a close eye on the heat index. If it gets too high, they change the way they practice. "We're not going to practice during the heat of the day during that 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. time frame and put our kids at more severe exposure to those conditions," said Woodall.

Woodall said one of the most important thing students can do is speak up if they aren't feeling well, but parents should rest assured knowing their kids are well cared for.

"We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to safeguard our athletes to protect their health," Woodall said.

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