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Coaches have to know when is 'dang hot' too hot?

by Tony Burns | July 31, 2021 at 4:52 p.m.

There was a time country folks didn’t need need fancy thermometers and doo hickeys to provide heat index readings. They simply stepped outside, looked up at the sun and said, “It’s hot.”

How hot?

“Dang hot.”

Technological advances have now determined when “dang hot” is actually too hot.

High school football players and other athletes will go through their paces on various fields, beginning Monday. Getting players prepared for the rigors of an upcoming football season will be a priority. Keeping those players safe from heat illnesses, however, should be the first focus.

El Dorado football coach Steven Jones said the Wildcats will practice in the late afternoon. Of course, the time and nature of the practice could be adjusted due to the heat.

“The AAA has implemented this Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer that we have to look at each week and look at the readings. Our athletic trainer will be all over that and let us know if we can be outside, if we can be outside with no pads. There’s just different modifications we have that we can put into place if we have extreme heat,” said Jones.

“We also try to do a good job of just scheduling around the hottest parts of the day. We do the best that we can to try to make it to where we can get as much work done as possible. But when it’s too hot to be outside, we’re going to be smart about it and either take our helmets off or incorporate a few more water breaks. Player safety is always going to be the number one thing in mind when we hit the field in fall camp.”

El Dorado athletic trainer Morgan Atkins will monitor the weather and communicate with all of the school’s athletic coaches. She said this time of the year is quite dangerous.

“We had a huge heat wave come through South Arkansas this week, which made us do some adjusting to our athletic schedules. Wildcat athletes have been engaging in athletic practices all summer in order to acclimate their bodies to the increasing heat,” Atkins said.

“Heat illness is a very serious matter, one that we take extremely serious here at El Dorado. I, along with our coaching staff, preach proper nutrition to all of our athletes. Drinking the appropriate amount of water and eating a nutritious diet are just two simple ways our athletes can prevent heat illness. We work around the clock monitoring the weather and measuring the ever changing conditions with our Wet Bulb Glove Thermometer. Our athletic department has been very diligent in adhering to the new regulations in order to keep all of our athletes healthy. Safety is a priority for us so we will continue to adjust practice schedules as needed in order to provide the best possible scenarios for training our Wildcats.”

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