Beating the heat

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 30, 2014

0730 spt-Sean Grissett

Florala senior Sean Grissett takes a quick break to beat the afternoon heat Tuesday. Temperatures will be pretty high next week as fall practice begins for local football teams. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Local teams take precautions to combat symptoms

As temperatures across the county continue to rise, local football teams are taking every precaution necessary to protect their players from the excessive heat.

Fall football practice starts Monday, and the National Weather Service out of Mobile reports that the high will be around 91 degrees.

To combat the heat, Andalusia head football coach Brian Seymore said the best action is to be reactive to the signs of heat symptoms.

“It’s so much more about awareness these days,” Seymore said. “We’ve got to take a heat prevention course to recognize the signs and symptoms of the kids, and make sure they get acclimated to the heat.”

Seymore added that its a continual process.

“You’ve got to be precautionary,” the AHS coach said. “As coaches, these kids will play hard, but we’ve got to keep in the back of our minds to be aware of taking enough breaks and drink water when you’re thirsty or not.”

Even out in the open, Seymore said they encourage players to get under the shade when on breaks.

How much water each player gets depends on the team’s work during that particular day, where it may include not as much as the previous day and the weather isn’t as hot.

“Obviously, you need to give them multiple water breaks,” Straughn head football coach Trent Taylor said. “A lot of it depends on the day. You certainly need to monitor that.”

Practice for the Tigers won’t get started until 5:30 p.m. and that’s the biggest thing, Taylor said.

“Everybody’s got their cow feeder full of ice, and if someone shows signs over overheating, then we’ll have that available,” he said.

Coaches said that the temperature wasn’t as bed yesterday as it was on Monday.

Taylor, who was at a 7-on-7 at Huntingdon College on Monday, said the temperature was “brutal,” especially for the offensive and defensive linemen.

Other than practicing late in the day, the Tigers will go at around 7 each morning for two-a-days.

Going early in the morning is the same philosophy Brad Rhodes is using at Florala.

The new Wildcats head football coach said they’ll go two-a-days at 7:30 a.m. and then again at 5 p.m. next week.

“Hydration is a big part of it,” Rhodes said. “We try to educate these guys and let them know that it’s a daily process, that you need to hydrate after practice and through the night.”

During practices, Rhodes said there are breaks planned often and that each position station will squeeze bottles for players.

Seymore said he goes as far as weighing the players before and after practice to see how much “water weight” they lose.

“You’ve got to watch the kids,” Seymore said. “(Lack of hydration is) Definitely an issue and it’s got to be addressed.”

To help monitor heat breaks, Seymore said coaches have installed apps on their phones as reference points.

“The state’s done a really good job of making it a primary concern,” he said. “We expect them to work hard when they’re here, but you’ve got to still be careful.”

Fall practice starts for teams on Mon., Aug. 4.