Extra planning, resources allow high school football players to stay safe in the summer heat

New technology allows coaches to determine whether it’s safer to practice inside
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - “The most important thing is hydration after practice and rest, " says Captain Shreve offensive lineman, Devin Harper.

Byrd High School football players exercising during practice
Byrd High School football players exercising during practice(KSLA)

As school, and football returns to session, players know more than anyone how hot it can be, especially on turf fields.

“Coaches do a great job of having water out here for giving us water breaks in between periods and staying hydrated, " says North DeSoto quarterback Luke Delafield. “That’s very important. Staying hydrated.”

Staying aware of the heat has sparked some Monday morning quarterbacking of how coaches and athletes should handle it.

North DeSoto High School football players during practice
North DeSoto High School football players during practice(KSLA)

“I think the whole leg cramp issue is hydration related, " says North DeSoto head football coach Dennis Dunn. “Coaches need need to be educated and have an athletic trainer on site in situations of a high heat index. I’ve been doing this for 39 years. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it this hot. I know it say it every August. This truly is one of the hottest I’ve ever experienced.”

High school programs now invest in newer technology to determine if it’s safer to practice outside. The day our cameras visited the Magnolia School of Excellence, a wet bulb globe said it’s better if the Mariners workout inside.

Wet-bulb globe
Wet-bulb globe(KSLA)

“Weather dictates everything everything from how we do, how we dress, and so we work with the weather, “says Magnolia School of Excellence head football coach Anthony Johnson. “Things are a little bit different now. Heat issues are prevalent across the land. So, we got to make sure that we’re taking care of our athletes as well as the coaches and we can still get the work done inside.”

Lately many schools have elected for early morning workouts.

Players watching practice at Captain Shreve High School
Players watching practice at Captain Shreve High School(KSLA)

“What we do doesn’t work for everybody, “says Captain Shreve head football coach Adam Kirby. “What works for Shreve, that’s what we focus on. We practice at 6:00 a.m. Our kids are here. You’re also fighting the battle, ‘Well, you kickoff at 5:30 in scrimmages. You kick off at 7:00. It’s hot then.’ You also got to find time to get them acclimated to the heat as well.”

As we can get ready to embark on another toasty start to the football season, there’s one thing we can all agree on.

“It’s hot at practice right now, " says Harper. “You need that hydration for your muscles, to get back right and rest for sure.”