Teams in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley hit the gridiron Monday for the first official day of football practice, despite triple digit temperatures.
“No matter what the temperature is you gotta come out here and practice,” said Gage Jensen, quarterback at Alma High School.
The Bentonville Tigers hit the gridiron early Monday morning to avoid the heat. It is two-a-days for the Alma Airedales. They practice in the morning and afternoon. “We’re trying to get them acclimated this time right now because that’s when we’ll practice when school starts,” said Alma Head Coach Todd Dilbeck.
Dilbeck says coaches are trained to spot signs of heat related illness. They have an emergency action plan in place and monitor players. “They weigh in before practice. They weigh after practice. We see how much weight they’ve lost, so we know how to rehydrate them and get them ready for the next day,” said Dilbeck.
Alma stations student athletic trainers all over the field that give players water whenever they need it.
“Anything above the mid-90s can put the person at risk,” said Dr. Joseph Aldrich, a pediatrician.
Dr. Aldrich says it only takes 15 to 30 minutes for someone to get overheated. “Especially if they lay down on the ground and just aren’t responding the way they’re supposed to then that’s an obvious sign,” said Dr. Aldrich.
Teams toughen up as temperatures top the triple digits. “It’s not fun. You gotta come out here though and prepare,” said Jensen.
Doctors say ignoring the warning signs of heat related illness can be deadly.