Keeping players hydrated in the heat

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Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)- The Friday night lights are about to turn on.
It's week one of high school football.
This week, we've seen some of the hottest temperatures of the year.
Coaches and players have not only been preparing for the game. They've also been preparing for the heat.

Friday nights mean football. Players are ready to get back on the field, but it's not just the tackles that could get them hurt. Extreme temperatures, a worry for coaches and players.

"We'll make sure we use all three time outs tonight even if we don't need them for the situations but just for the heat," said Aquinas Head Football Coach James Leonard.

They'll have six coolers, constant water bottles, and electrolyte pills making sure players are hydrating before the game.

"I'd put the football players before me just in this situation because I'm not really doing anything so for sure making sure they're hydrated first," said football manager Baleigh Williamson.

It's not just during the games they have to be careful, practice too.
Aquinas coach James Leonard says during practice players get a break every 15 minutes.

Wide receiver Justin Gibbs says last night's practice was a scorcher, but it's something they get used to

"Its extremely hot and we did it ever since summer and spring break and i think we've adapted to it really well," said Gibbs.

Coaches use this wet bulb to measure temperature and humidity on the field and I've been out here in the middle of the day and it's already reached 106 and according to Georgia High school rules If it's over 90 they can't play.

Coaches are required to follow Georgia High School heat guidelines which says football players must take off their helmets during breaks. There must be a cooling zone not in direct sunlight and athletes drink hours before practice, and every 10 - 20 minutes during the game and after

"In the first couple of games its going to be important that anyone stays hydrated," said Coach Leonard.

It's not just the players that feel the heat. The band does too.
Their uniforms make them feel at least 10 degrees hotter than it is outside For the first couple of games the Aquinas band doesn't wear full uniforms just t-shirts.

"Once we step off that bus its straight game face. Its game time and all the air conditioning goes out the window," Aquinas said band director Ralph Godbee.

Heat or not, Aquinas is ready for some football.

"Its been forever now without hitting anyone else so I know they're ready to hit someone else," said Coach Leonard.

These heat policies apply to practices more than games because during a game players have more opportunity to get rest. When they take those breaks ice towels and spray bottles have to be in these "cooling zones"

Any school that violates the heat policy can be fine up to 1,000 dollars.

Here's a link to the Georgia High School heat policy.