H.S. football teams battle heat during first practices

By Bob Behanian  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On Friday, high school football teams from around the state had their opening practices of the season. Players aren't just battling each other, they are also fighting record hot temperatures.

With the heat index expected to reach 120 degrees, many coaches held practices early in the morning or planned practice late in the evening. But those hours didn't give players a complete break from hot temperatures. West Ashley head coach Bobby Marion and Timberland head coach Art Craig said they do their best to keep kids safe.

"We have tents set up. Kids can get water anytime they want. We have a trainer provided by Trident," Craig said.

Coach Marion added: "We are taking plenty of brakes and we are going twice in the morning."

Communication with players is key.

"If a kid needs to go out he goes out," Craig said. "If he needs to call it we will call it. We also finish in the gym if we have to."

Coaches said their player's health during weather like this was a major topic during the off season.

"We were at the coaches clinic up in Greenville. One of the major points of emphasis was the heat," Marion said. "If we lose one kid that's one too many."

He said in all his days as a player and coach, Marion never remembers it being this hot. Back when he played, players shied away from water breaks, but times have changed.

"Taking water use to be a sign of weakness. Not today," Marion said.

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