Area coaches tak­ing steps to pre­vent heat ill­ness

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - WEATHER - SCOT­TIE BORDELON Scot­tie Bordelon can be reached at sbor­de­lon@nwadg.com or on Twit­ter @NWAS­cot­tie.

ROGERS — Green­land foot­ball coach Lee Larkan re­calls the days when a hand­ful of ice chips was the lone lux­ury high school play­ers re­ceived dur­ing swel­ter­ing Au­gust prac­tices.

He and many of his team­mates at Hazen High School would place the ice in their hel­mets, turn the hel­met up­side-down and drink the wa­ter from the hole in the top of their head­gear.

“That’s all you got (dur­ing prac­tice),” said Larkan, who’s won 92 games as coach of the Pi­rates. “There were a lot of peo­ple that suf­fered in those days be­cause it was just mis­er­able.

“Now, our kids carry wa­ter bot­tles with them all the time. We pro­vide them wa­ter bot­tles and they can get wa­ter any time.”

Times have changed, but more im­por­tantly coaches have learned that hy­dra­tion is im­por­tant. Proper hy­dra­tion is on the fore­front of every coach’s mind as fall camps across the state are set to be­gin this week.

Dr. Bren­don P. McDer­mott, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of ki­ne­si­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville spoke to a ball­room full of coaches last week at the Mercy Coaches Clinic in Rogers. One of the ma­jor parts of the clinic is the Ken­drick Fincher Hy­dra­tion for Life Foun­da­tion, named af­ter the for­mer Rogers youth who died from heat stroke in Au­gust 1995.

Re­lay­ing the po­ten­tial dan­gers in­volved with stren­u­ous ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the hottest days of the year is a must. Coach­ing staffs do so through player and par­ent meet­ings, where hy­dra­tion, as well as con­cus­sion pro­to­col and symp­toms, are dis­cussed.

McDer­mott says re­hash­ing heat ill­ness pre­ven­tion to play­ers pe­ri­od­i­cally through­out a sea­son can help with in­for­ma­tion re­ten­tion.

“It’s not only im­por­tant to present it, but to re­it­er­ate it down the line,” he said. “Coaches are highly re­spected in­di­vid­u­als and should be with all of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that fall on them.

“We know this from pre­vi­ous stud­ies we’ve done re­lated to hy­dra­tion: (Play­ers) pay at­ten­tion for a short pe­riod of time and re­mem­ber it short­term, but if its not re­it­er­ated they’re go­ing to for­get. Re­state the in­for­ma­tion every now and then and then maybe pro­vid­ing a snip­pet could def­i­nitely help.”

Ac­cli­mat­ing play­ers to heat grad­u­ally is key, McDer­mott said, and sum­mer pro­grams go a long way in pro­hibit­ing play­ers from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heat syn­cope – faint­ing as a re­sult of lim­ited blood flow to the heart and brain – ex­er­tional heat stroke and heat cramps.

“The sum­mer work­out pro­gram is a ma­jor ac­cli­ma­tion time,” Spring­dale HarBer coach Chris Wood said. “It’s not just go­ing out in Au­gust and go­ing 3-4 hours at a time. You ac­tu­ally bring them in the sum­mer and the whole sum­mer is about the ac­cli­ma­tion to the heat and get­ting them ready for Au­gust. That’s a big deal.”

One of the more well­known cases of heat-re­lated tragedies is the death of for­mer Min­ne­sota Vik­ing Korey Stringer. En­ter­ing his sev­enth sea­son in the Na­tional Foot­ball League, the 6-foot-4, 335-pound of­fen­sive line­men com­plained of ex­haus­tion on the team’s first day of train­ing camp and was carted off the field.

Stringer re­turned to camp the next day, where the heat in­dex reached 110 de­grees. Dizzi­ness set over him and the all-league tal­ent was taken by am­bu­lance to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal. Upon ar­riv­ing, his body tem­per­a­ture had risen to 108. He was un­con­scious un­til he died shortly af­ter mid­night.

Since then, ex­tra pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures have be­come the norm at foot­ball prac­tices across the coun­try. Bryan Pratt, en­ter­ing his sec­ond sea­son at Bentonville West, says you will find ‘cool tents’ with fans, cold tubs, ice tow­els and wa­ter sta­tions scat­tered about at his prac­tices.

“From a guy who used to coach down in Texas, where it was re­ally hot, you learn to take care of some sit­u­a­tions so you don’t lose any­body in the heat,” he said. “If we no­tice any­thing we’ll send them to a trainer, who’s al­ways right there.” Coaches also en­cour­age play­ers to speak up about their state of be­ing. Play­ers know their bod­ies bet­ter than any­one, and re­lay­ing po­ten­tial symp­toms can in­crease the like­li­hood of avoid­ing a trau­matic event.

“When it comes to prac­tice it’s not a tough-man com­pe­ti­tion. Our deal is if any­thing feels out of whack, we want them to speak up, hy­drate and be proac­tive,” said Wood, who typ­i­cally holds team prac­tices at 7 a.m. to beat the heat of the day. “We’re not go­ing to make less of any­body in the course of prac­tice if they need to hy­drate a lit­tle bit more.

“The safety of the kids in the prac­tice is the No. 1 pri­or­ity.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Dr. Bren­don McDer­mott, Univer­sity of Arkansas as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of ki­ne­si­ol­ogy, gives a talk on pre­vent­ing, rec­og­niz­ing and treat­ing heat ill­ness Thurs­day dur­ing the Mercy Coach­ing Sum­mit at the John. Q. Ham­mons Cen­ter in Rogers.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.