It has been a record-breaking summer for heat here in South Texas. You can only imagine what that means for high school kids now hitting the field for football practice.
So what are schools and coaches doing to make sure everyone stays safe and hydrated?
Last August, four high school football players around the country died from heat-related illnesses. Because of that, the University Interscholastic League, commonly known as UIL, implemented some new rules and regulations that change the way high school football players practice.
Student athletes are not allowed to practice for more than thee hours at time, and no more than five hours on days where there is more than one practice session. They have to have two hours of rest between practice sessions, and two-a-day practice sessions cannot happen on consecutive days.
The new rules are already in place. At a practice session in Robstown, the Cotton Pickers were doing their best to make sure heat doesn't get the best of them.
The unforgiving sun and triple-digit temperatures will put a spell on you if you let it, but that is why this team goes out of its way to take precautionary measures.
"The coaches will never let us go get tired without getting water," Robstown HS Senior Hector Garza said.
"We make sure that we get them hydrated before they come out here, so they've got a schedule of how many fluid ounces they need to take in the night before," Coach Enrique Gonzalez said. "Also, we like to keep our sessions short."
Some common sense safety measures like taking breaks, drinking lots of water and keeping the practice sessions short go a long way in preventing players from getting dehydrated. The coach said keeping an eye out for telltale signs is also absolutely vital.
"We instructed our coaches just to keep an eye on your group, look for the certain signs, you know, the kid's not sweating, the kid seems disoriented, he seems real sluggish," Gonzalez said. "We send them immediately to a cool zone and have them cool down, and we'll call our trainer."
The team is still going hard and giving it their all, but they're also practicing smart and safe, and that means they know when to blow the whistle and call it a day.
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