Student athletes are one group affected by the rising temperatures, and coaches are preparing them for the hot days ahead.
The athletes may think it’s no big deal, especially if it only happens once or twice a year, but that “no big deal” can quickly turn dangerous.
Scott Stapler, Huntsville City Schools Athletic Director, says, “We have athletic trainers that are provided by Huntsville Hospital and TOC that are out at every practice that we have. So as soon as something were to happen like a kid get sick or don’t feel very well, then they’ll get him and get him off to the side to where he’s revived.”
Even at noon, the temperatures are unforgiving, reaching into the high 90s with hotter days to come.
According to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, some athletes are more prone to heat illness than others.
Those athletes include:
– Athletes with previous experience of heat illness or heat stroke
– Athletes with a history of sickle cell trait as identified on their pre-participation physical exam
– Athletes that are overweight
– Athletes that are sick or have a fever
– Athletes taking certain medications such as Accutane, ADHD medication, energy drinks and nutritional supplements used for energy boost or certain antidepressants
– Dehydration due to inadequate intake or excessive loss from illness such as gastrointestinal distress
– Athletes who have not acclimated to the heat due to work, travel or relocation from a more temperate environment
Experts highly suggest taking more water breaks and making sure the athletes slowly acclimate themselves into the warmer temperatures to prevent any high risk situations.
“You know, a lot of it I think comes from not having anything to drink during the day or not having lunch, you know, things you wish you could monitor, which you can in college, but in high school you can’t,” said Stapler.
But something coaches can do is make sure to provide enough breaks, water, and snacks for their athletes to prevent a heat related incident.
For more tips on how to prevent heat-related illnesses check out the CDC website.
Here’s a look at the AHSAA Heat Acclimatication protocol: