Heat advisories spoil practice for band, football teams - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Heat advisories spoil practice for musicians, athletes

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Another heat advisory Monday for much of southwest Georgia.

It's a hazard for high school football teams and marching bands as they hit the fields to practice.

Last month, was the third hottest July on record. August is starting out just as hot. The heat index in Albany reached 110 again. Many coaches and Band Directors are stopping their practices every 20 minutes for mandatory water breaks, and in some cases even sending students inside.

There's just no way to beat the heat on the practice fields in Lee County.

"Hot, it's been hot, even early this morning when we were here it was hot," said Kolt Parsons, a Lee County Senior football player.

"Right now it's 98 degree heat index, according to this and so we're good to go," said Hank Carter, Lee County's Band Director.

For the first time in days it was cool enough for the band to have their instruments on the field.

"Friday it actually got up to 119 at one point. We were in the middle of a water break and I checked it I got all the kids together and said lets go in," said Carter.

While we were on the field the heat index jumped to 106 forcing instruments down, at 116 they head inside. It's the same on the football practice field where they lost the full pads for afternoon practice and push water breaks every 20 minutes.

"Anytime they need water, we allow them to go get it," said Lee County Head Football Coach Dean Fabrizio.

Students use towels and hats and as much water as they need to beat the sun's rays.

"I squirt it on my neck, put it in my helmet, try everything," said Parsons.

"It's a water backpack, there's a big sack of water in there and a big straw pretty much," said Taylor Weaver, a Lee County Band Student.

They're also pushed to drink plenty of water when their off the field.

"It's important not only at practice but also before, when they're at home and at night to drink plenty of fluids," said Fabrizio.

It's a challenge coaches and directors are working around because they say the student's health comes first.

The Georgia High School Association allows each school system to set their own policy when it's too hot for students to practice in Lee County it's 116 but in Dougherty County it's when the heat index climbs over 105.

Teams say they'll try to practice in the evenings, but even then the temperatures aren't much cooler and teams won't get much of a break this week with temperatures still in the mid to high 90's.

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