Coaches focus on heat dangers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coaches focus on heat dangers

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August 17, 2005

Albany- Even in the heat of a South Georgia summer, football practice is a daily requirement. 1"As hot as it is we have to do everything we can to maximize their performance," says Glenn Davis, head football coach at Albany High School.

That's why Albany High School head football coach Glenn Davis gives his players unlimited access to water, something he admits has changed since the days when he grew up.

"We were growing up thinking you shouldn't take water breaks, that water breaks were a sign of weakness. Today that's a fatal mistake," Davis says. Although his team practices for three hours a day, Davis gives them time to rest.

"We take breaks probably every twenty minutes which gives them an opportunity to take their helmet off. You'd be surprised how much heat that helmet can trap," he says.

Before any of the students can take the field, they must cleared by a physician like Dr. Nick Kilmer. During the physicals he looks for signs of orthopedic injuries that might not have healed, as well as other medical problems.

"For instance people who have passed out when they're exercising, people who have a lot of chest pain when they're exercising, people who cough a lot when they exercise, that might indicate that they have asthma," says Kilmer.

Still, Dr. Kilmer admits that some medical problems could go undetected.

"There are certain congenital heart conditions that might very well be asymptomatic until somebody kills over dead," says Kilmer.

But doctors say those problems are so rare that extensive, and invasive testing would produce so many false positives that it would do more harm than good and be an ineffective way of determining who should suit up and who shouldn't.

Each Dougherty County high school has a device that measures the heat index so coaches know how dangerous the heat is before their players hit the field.

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