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High school football trainers work to keep players safe as temperatures soar

Photo Source: Live 5 News Photo Source: Live 5 News
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The summer heat can create some dangerous conditions for high school football teams getting ready for the season.

This week marked the first day of practice for several Lowcountry teams. Athletic trainers are taking measures to keep student athletes safe as temperatures soar. 

Today, the Military Magnet Academy (MMA) Football  Team practiced indoors to beat the heat. The basketball court is not the typical football floor, but for today it was the next best thing.

Robbe Hedstrom is the head athletic trainer at MMA, he is a certified trainer with Roper St. Francis.

"So today, the temperature that I took on the field was around 103 degrees with roughly 30 percent humidity and that put us just above the threshold for practicing outside," Hedstrom said.

He says their considering moving practice to a later time when it'll be cooler outside.He follows the National Athletic Trainer Association Guidelines that tell you how hot is too hot. That's why they're inside today.

"It's a sliding scale. even at lower temperature if you have a high humidity that can dictate you to come inside or lessen practice time,"  he said.

Laura Richins is the Head Athletic Trainer at Porter Gaud.

"[That] is why we have practices so early and  so late in the day to try to avoid that," Richins said.

The athletic trainers at Porter Gaud use the same device, a wet bulb, to determine the conditions.

No matter where practice takes place hydration and a good diet are essential.

"I like to tell kids six to eight glasses of water a day 15 to 20 ounces, roughly about two sports drinks as well," Hedstrom said.

"We have the ice tub so if anyone is getting overheated, or if there is any risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke we can get them right in that ice bath," Richins said.

Senior at MMA Brandon Brown knows the rewards of good habits.

"It's really a good thing to keep yourself hydrated even in the off season so that your body just jumps back in," Brown said.

"We try to tell the kids how to eat healthy how to drink healthy," Hedstrom said. "Not only during practice, but when they're away from school while they're at home."

Both athletic trainers measure their athlete's hydration each practice. They weigh the players before and after practice, if they're losing too much weight it's a sign that they're dehydrated. From there they're advised to drink more water or sit out of practice.

According to the U.S News and World Report, between 1980 and 2015 there were 44 heat stroke-related deaths during preseason high school football practices. 

The latest one happened Thursday when a 12-year-old in Georgia died several weeks after suffering from a heat stroke in practice.

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