Players and Coaches battle heat as practices start
Last updated 8/1/2023 at 10:31am
The first day of preseason practices for high school football teams was Monday, July 31, in Orange County. The summer heat was intense with the temperature around one hundred degrees in the late afternoon.
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears practiced in the morning and then again in the late afternoon into the evening. The workouts were regulated to insure the players and coaches did not get overheated and experience any trauma because of the hot weather.
The head trainer Sherri Hoffpauir at Little Cypress Mauriceville is an active participant during the Bears' practices. "It is pretty hot even in the evening. We've had other summers that were hot like this. We just make sure the players get plenty of water breaks, cool off during breaks, make sure they get Gatorade, and get a twenty minute rest between the practice sessions," Hoffpauir elaborated.
During the workouts the coaches breakoff into separate groups with the players for their particular positions and work on techniques and skills for twenty to thirty minutes. Head Coach Eric Peevey then gives a signal for the coaches to stop their drills which allows the players and coaches to get water and or Gatorade while standing near large fans that blow cooler air on them.
Precautions are a priority for Coach Peevey and trainer Hoffpauir so none of the Bears develop an illness from the heat. Hoffpauir explained, "Plenty of water breaks and we have a tent set up the players can get under with the fans blowing so they can cool down. We have iced towels in case anyone feels overheated and we are fixing an ice bath so the players if they feel they are getting overheated can get in and cool off."
Heat related illnesses can be serious. "Heat exhaustion is the first problem and then heat stroke is later. Both of those are pretty detrimental. Heat exhaustion is easier to treat. We can get the person cooled down, get plenty of fluids in them, and then they would be out of practice for one day and then see how they are doing the second day," Hoffpauir responded.
Hoffpauir added, "For heat stroke we usually have to call the ambulance. It is much more serious." Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated quickly enough according to Hoffpauir.
There are signs or indications that trainers like Hoffpauir remain alert to observe in the players and coaches before a situation gets critical. "The person quits sweating, feels chilled, vomiting, sees black spots, or has difficulty breathing. We just watch out for those symptoms," Hoffpauir informed. "We encourage the players to take care of themselves by making sure they're eating a good meal and getting plenty of water and fluids and then to pay attention to the signs their body is giving them."
Keeping the players hydrated is imperative when they are sweating so profusely during the hot workouts. "We use Powerade and then we have some electrolyte popsicles that if we need to we can give them that, and that's what we use to keep them hydrated," Hoffpauir said. Some schools still use salt tablets to help retain salt levels for the individual but LCM does not.
Hoffpauir is not alone in working to keep the players healthy during the workouts as she has six students who serve as assistant trainers or managers that work with her. Hoffpauir admitted, "I couldn't do without them, they are invaluable."
"It's just hot! It helped we had summer workouts so the players are pretty much acclimated to it. Several of our players work outside with their parents or other relatives during the summer so they're more acclimated to it, so that helps a lot. We work to keep their nutrition and hydration up. Another hint we give them is to add a little extra salt to their food, not a lot, just a little bit to kind of replace some of those electrolytes that they're losing," Coach Hoffpauir concluded.