Digging Deeper: How heat affects young athletes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: How heat affects young athletes

Heat advisories were issued across the state as Tuesday's heat indeces reached well over 100 degrees in many communities.

That didn't keep Lee County's football team from their summer workout.

Trainers are partnering with the University of Georgia to determine at what temperature young athletes need to give it a rest.

The Georgia High School Association requires every high school to have a heat policy that says when its too hot to practice. Lee County's is when the heat index reaches 110 degrees, while clouds saved us most of the day here in Dougherty and Lee Counties that won't always be the case.

175 Lee County boys put in a hard summer football workout on the practice field.

"Right when I step out of the building, I start sweating," said Kyle Stratton, a Lee County High football player.

In temperatures that felt like 88 degrees at just 11:00 Tuesday morning, and players say its even hotter with their helmets on.

"At least a hundred degrees, coach tries to keep us hydrated, everything so," said Troy Crawford, a Lee County High football player.

In this heat, Coach Dean Fabrizio makes sure players get plenty of water, they've bought new coolers, with coils inside to keep the water ice cold.

"It keeps a constant stream of water, we spent about $2,500 getting three of these for our kids to make sure they stay hydrated because that's something we constantly stress, we're constantly stopping practice and making sure every 10 minutes or so these kids get water," said Fabrizio.

But the team's trainer is also doing research with the University of Georgia to determine when it's too hot to practice safely.

"A lot of people say where do you get the numbers, 110, where do you cut off practice at, it kind of varies, so we're trying to get it through the research project, justify the numbers," said Brian Davis, the team's trainer and Premier Orthopedics.

They're watching to see when players are cramping or start getting dehydrated. Coach Fabrizio says it's important for kids to build up a tolerance to the heat, before they hit the field in pads to practice for games.

"The hundred degree days were probably the worst, because we weren't used to it but those days helped us out for yesterday so it wasn't that bad," said Drew Carr, a Lee County High football player.

Trainers also encourage coaches to get kids out earlier in the morning to avoid the worst heat of the day and the chance mother nature will end practice early.

This is the third year of the study with UGA and their findings are expected soon. They say 110 degrees seems to be the breaking point, the good news the heat index here reached just 102 degrees today.

The University of Georgia study involved more than 2,500 players at 25 high schools across the state, all in an effort to provide the scientific data to help administrators and coaches set effective heat-related policies nationwide, and hopefully, save lives.

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