The heat is on — Football practice starts as 100s return

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Jacksonville started football drills this week. (Photo by Chad Matchett)

Perusing social media and hitting a few team pages for high school football teams around the state, the message to players going into the preseason practice is clear and concise.

Hydrate.

August has proven dangerous to football players and coaches, to some even deadly.

The last heat casualty was Lamar’s Tyler Davenport.

Coaches are keenly aware of what can happen if they allow the heat to take over.

Sylvan Hills’ and North Little Rock’s Twitter pages urged players days in advance to begin hydration and reminded players on Sunday night in advance of opening workouts at 6 a.m. Monday morning.

The two-a-day as most of us know it are gone. They have been replaced by early morning sessions to beat heat and still get work done that coaches feel are needed to prepare for the season.

The Arkansas Activities Association offers not only guidelines governing practice, but also offers information about heat illness, as well as measures to take to prevent heat illnesses.

B.J. Maack, owner of Arkansas Sports Performance Center has been active on social media as well offering tips to prevent heat related fatalities including offering advice on techniques to determine levels of dehydration.

“Athletes: Weigh yourself before and after practice to keep an eye on how much you sweat, and how much you need to drink to replenish fluids,” Maack said on Twitter.

Along with hydration and weighing, Maack advises on his Facebook page to change into dry shirts often.

Heat related injuries and deaths have also prompted legal action by parents nationwide.

In a 2012 column by Dave O’Brien on www.collegebusinessnews.com, cited a case from four years ago where a coach was held responsible in the heat related death of a player.

In 2009, David Jason Stinson, a high school football coach at Pleasure Ridge Park High School in Louisville, Kentucky was charged with wanton endangerment and reckless homicide in the heat related death of one of his players.

The trial ended with Stinson being found not guilty in the death of the player who collapsed at practice when the team was forced to run a series of sprints in 94-degree weather. The player died three days later from heat stroke, sepsis, and multiple organ failure. His temperature reached 107 degrees.

The jury reached a verdict after deliberating for less than two hours.

With hydration stations being the norm at high school fields, schools are ensuring that athletic trainers and student helpers are ever present to help ensure the safety of players especially when they are allowed to don full pads.

The summer is here. So are the dangers of heat. So is the awareness of such dangers.

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