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Heat hits young football players the hardest

August 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A CDC report reveals that more than 9,000 heat related illnesses occur amongst high school athletes. And football players get hit the hardest -- they suffer at ten times the rate of other athletes.The football team at Crenshaw High School are bracing themselves for the extreme temperatures this weekend. The Crenshaw Cougars will be in Atlanta for a big game.

It'll be a scorcher, but the players are prepared. Heat related illness is the worst opponent this team will face, but they've been educated on how to beat it.

"We will practice for 30 minutes and then take water breaks throughout the day," said a Crenshaw Cougar football player. "It keeps us refreshed."

A medical professional is on hand at every game.

Dr. Clarence Shields with the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic oversees their athletic program. During high temperatures, the simplest way to keep track of their player's health is to use a scale.

"By weighing them in the morning and then weighing them after practice, that gives you a good idea of how their fluid balances," said Dr. Shields. "It is hard to make the children drink as much as they need to."

Doctors say that when you are out on the field you can't let thirst be your guide because it will let you down. So it is important that everyone adheres to mandatory water breaks.

"There is a coach putting water on your body and in your mouth, so you can have a water break anytime you want," said Coach Robert Garrett. "Hydration is the key in my opinion."

But just as important as water is education. Coach Garrett makes sure all the athletes and coaches are well aware of the warning signs.

Coach Garrett does not allow sodas, caffeinated beverages or power drinks at practices. Most can contribute to dehydration.

"Water is the key," said Coach Garrett.

It is recommended that you drink 8 to 10 ounces every 30 minutes.


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