High school football players work to beat the heat
We may be under a heat warning, but high school teams still need to prepare for football season.
When Coach Shawn Jackson announces it’s time to get water, it’s not a request. It’s a demand.
"They won’t drink a thing out here. Believe it or not, you’ve got to force them," Jackson said.
McCracken County High School football players like Will Kitchen take that demand seriously in this heat.
"Even when you’re not at practice, you’re drinking plenty of water. You saw how many water breaks we got today. That goes on all day," Kitchen said.
The team has been practicing at 7 a.m., because of rising temperatures. And, over the last few days, practice has ended a half hour early. Trainer Aaron Swain makes all those decisions to keep your athletes healthy.
"We monitor it every 30 minutes, making sure we’re within regulations. Then we’re just observing. The best thing to do is be proactive instead of reactive," Swain said.
Trainers are constantly checking the heat index using a thermometer. Swain says things can heat up a little bit quicker at McCracken County than at other schools, because of what they’re playing on.
"The turf absorbs heat, and you actually feel heat coming up, so we have to take the temperature on the turf a opposed to off," Swain said.
If it gets near 104 degrees, the team stops playing. In case of an emergency, Swain has ice baths and ice towels for athletes to cool off.
"It only gets worse from here on out," Kitchen said.
The heat is a small obstacle for these athletes. Their main focus is staying safe so they’re ready come game day.
Fifteen local football teams will take part in the 7 on 7 camp on Friday in Murray. The McCracken County High School team chose not to take part in the camp due to the heat. The organizer says the weather has caused him to shorten the games and push the start time to 6:30 p.m.