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Published August 12, 2010, 02:34 PM

Heat Dangers for Athletes

Staying hydrated and avoiding heat-related illnesses are top concerns as high school football teams start their first days of outdoor practice this week.

By: Meagan Millage, WDAZ

Staying hydrated and avoiding heat-related illnesses are top concerns as high school football teams start their first days of outdoor practice this week.

Central High School Football Coach Bill Lorenz says they take many different approaches even before practice starts to avoid heat exhaustion with their athletes.

As preseason practice starts, football players are well aware of the problems caused by August heat.

"Some guys just get headaches, some guys cramp up, some guys do both. I mean, its pretty much happened to everyone," Center and Defensive End Alex McDonald said.

But, heat stroke can kill even the most conditioned athlete. Central High School Head Football Coach Bill Lorenz says making sure athletes know about the dangers of heat exhaustion is as important as any play.

"The education portion of it we stress, you know, in our preseason meetings talking to the kids even before practice starts just to start hydrating, you know, before we get out here," Head Football Coach Bill Lorenz said.

Coaches tell players the number one way to avoid heat exhaustion is by drinking plenty of water.

"Pretty much the only thing they tell us to do over and over is drink water. I mean before and after practice they have us weigh in and out just to see that we're drinking water. And if we're not then they'll get on us more about it," McDonald said.

Having players weigh in before and after practice helps monitor the water lost during practice. But the team also gets up early so they are done practicing before the hottest part of the day.

"If it's cool in the morning we beat the heat of the afternoon so it's helped out a little bit that way," Lorenz said.

The coaching and training staff both know the signs of heat exhaustion, but they've made sure the players know them as well.

"You know, if we see someone slugging around we'll tell each other or tell them to go get some water. I mean, we're a team out here we have to do stuff like that," McDonald said.

Players weren't using their shoulder pads today, but they say when they do, they get warmer faster.

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