Local High School Football Teams Find Ways to Beat the Heat - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Local High School Football Teams Find Ways to Beat the Heat

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Local high school football teams find ways to beat the heat this summer.

According to National Weather Service, July is statistically the average warmest month in Mississippi.

The month averages a high of 92 degrees Fahrenheit, with a low of 71.

So far the hottest temperature recorded in Hattiesburg in 2013 was 94 in June.

With a forecast pushing well over 90  in Hattiesburg tomorrow, local coaches maintain a safety conscious mindset regarding hydration when pushing their players during offseason workouts.

"Of course we have water available at all times, and whenever they need it they get it," says Laurel head football coach Todd Breland.

"We give them plenty of water breaks," says Prentiss head football coach Tim McNair. "I told them water is free. They get water as much as possible."

But that's not the only way coaches combat the heat.

"We try to do early morning practice or late evening practice," says Breland.

"We try to get it in in the morning, so by the time we get up that way, the heat index gets really hot we're off the field and stuff," says McNair.

According to National Weather Service, a heat index of 105 warrants a heat advisory.

None have been issued for the Hattiesburg area so far in 2013, a potential reason most coaches are able to say they are thankful for their good fortunes.

"Been very fortunate, and we've been smart about how we handle our players, even once the seasons starts," says Hattiesburg head football coach Tony Vance.

"So far we've been blessed [to] have no one cramp up or anything like that," says McNair.

However, not every team goes unaffected.

"Nothing serious - we've had kids go down with the heat, but nothing that required medical attention," says Breland.

What Breland describes is known as heat exhaustion.

"Heat exhaustion - many times you just cool them down, get them out of the heat and they recover without any complications," says Hattiesburg Clinic physician John Johnson.

But coaches really need to watch out for a more serious heat related complication.

"The heat stroke is the people are disoriented, and they appear extremely sick," says Johnson.

To prevent such serious injuries, Johnson gives players four important tips on how to beat the heat.

"Stay well hydrated, get in shape, get accustomed to the heat, and if you feel like you're having problems let the coach know that there's a problem so that he can take you out of the game."

But the players tend to make that someone else's responsibility.

"Let the coaches worry about it really," says Laurel senior wide receiver Tarus Barnes.

"Just let the coaches, yeah," says Laurel sophomore wide receiver Milton Smith.

"They kind of leave that up to us to monitor that situation, and we'll make the best decision for the kids," says Breland. "We're more worried about the kids than we are trying to get a practice in."

At the end of the day, coaches know it's their responsibilities to keep their players safe and hydrated.

"Understand at the end of the day, my number one goal is to get these young men back home safe, and to their parents," says Vance.

"They might say something like coach [I'm not] tired. In my eyes you're tired so go get you some water," says McNair.

Notes:

The MHSAA regulates that formal practice with helmets for high school football teams starts on Aug. 5.

For information regarding heat related complications, visit the National Weather Service's web page on Heat: A Major Killer. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/index.shtml

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