FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Temperatures felt like they were in the triple digits in Fort Smith on Wednesday (July 15), but that did not keep one cheerleading team from practicing despite not having air conditions at their gym.
According to the squad, they beat the heat because they are passionate about the sport. Hadley Vaughn is on the senior level 4 team at Arkansas Cheer Unlimited.
"Sometimes I'm like I need a gallon of water," Vaughn said.
Coaches make sure members of the squad stay hydrated and turn the fans on blast.
"We look for any signs of heat exhaustion, headache, nausea, how much they are or are not sweating," coach Branden Gregory said.
According to Dr. Ryan Sullivan, who works at Sparks Regional Medical Center, the hospital is seeing 10 to 12 heat-related illnesses per day.
“It can absolutely be life-threatening,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said it is important to monitor urine output and get acclimated to the heat before staying out in it for long periods of time.
“It can cause all kinds of organ damage,” Sullivan said.
That's why the coaches and cheerleaders do not take heat exhaustion lightly.
"It's pretty important to stay hydrated because you get really hot really fast," Vaughn said.
Sullivan said it is also important to speak with a doctor about any medication that could alter sweating. Sullivan said if someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, they should move to a cool area or be put in an ice bath.