Dangerous temperatures pose risks for high school football players

Players take short break underneath the misters
Players take short break underneath the misters
Garrison Head Coach Craten Phillips
Garrison Head Coach Craten Phillips

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

GARRISON, TX (KTRE) – All week, high school athletes are roughing it for hours in the heat.

Two-a-days are underway, and already several Tyler area football players have been treated for heat-related injuries.

In Garrison, practice gets underway at 4 p.m., with the blinding sun high overhead. It's the hottest time of day.

"You got to fight through it. Get your goal," said incoming senior Josh Williams.

Garrison head coach Craten Phillips says there's a good reason for practicing late in the afternoon.

"It gets them used to the heat. It's their time that they're going to practice after school and we're going to play our games in the evening so we're going to go ahead and start off you know getting our bodies ready," said Phillips.

To give you an idea of just how hot it is for these guys, the actual temperature is somewhere around 100 degrees. But, when you add that with the humidity, the heat index value makes it feel more like 110.

What does that feel like, running up and down the field?

"Like some body's punching you in the chest. You can't breathe," said Williams.

Getting in shape is part of the conditioning process, but coaches watch for signs of cramping and dehydration.

"When they start drooping off we see you know is it fatigue, or is there something more serious going on," said Phillips.

The guys take several breaks and water is always close by. Players also know their role in preparing for the intense workout.

"Stay away from all cokes, carbonation, if I do drink anything I try and drink Gatorade and water," said incoming senior Klint Powell.

If players get overheated, they can escape the heat under two large fans, and misters.

"It's definitely kind of a relief to go and sit over there and cool off for a second so you can get ready for the next go around," said Powell.

Before long they are dripping with sweat again. Its sweat they're proud to work for.

"It's worth every minute of it. I love it because football is what I do," said Powell.

Garrison coaches say there haven't seen any serious heat-related illnesses so far.

Staying hydrated throughout the day helps avoid cramping in players.

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