Keeping cool on the football field

DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) – The opening weekend of football season will be accompanied by some of the highest temperatures and heat indexes we’ve seen this year. As players take the field, there have been many measures taken to ensure their safety as it relates to the heat.

Friday, August 22, 2014 the temperature climbed into the high 90s, but at 2 p.m. Daphne football players were out on the practice field, getting ready for the next game. Coaches have been trained on how to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion, but much of it falls on the players to follow certain rules.

“They’re teenagers. They’re going to want to drink their Cokes and sweet tea with their friends, so we have to stress to them and to their parents as well that you can’t do that during the season,” explained team trainer Brian Metz. “It’s too hot. Anything with lots of caffeine and sugar makes you sweat more and you’ll dehydrate quicker.”

“We do a lot of practice with no pads – just shells, just shorts and no practice pants. It’s mental. It’s physical, but it keeps the body temperature a little cooler,” said Daphne Head Coach Glenn Vickery.

Every head coach in the state has taken a mandatory heat illness prevention course. On game night there’s not as much control, but the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has put rules in place to make sure players have the appropriate water breaks during the game.

“The early games, they do a mid quarter water break. They did that last night, so you pick up a couple of extra time outs and a water break, so that certainly helps, too. I think the big factor for us is we really preach no caffeine, no energy drinks,” Vickery said.

Care to make a guess as to how much water the players go through over a day of practice?

“Probably about 200 gallons. We do about 40 gallons of Gatorade and then we fill up these coolers as many times a day as we can, and it’s normally about 200 gallons of water a day,” Metz said.

Another thing Metz pointed out is that the bands also have to be careful to stay hydrated with all of their activity and heavy clothes.

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