WEST FORK, Ark. — High school football practices are in full swing across our area.
With triple-digit heat this week, that could make for some dangerous conditions. Monday, July 31 marked the first official day of football practice for many high schools in Arkansas.
To combat the extreme heat, many teams practice early in the morning. West Fork started their practice at 6:30 Monday morning.
“We actually started doing that several years ago. Thinking that the kids would struggle getting here, but what they found out was it's cooler, once we're done, they're done. And then go home, we're usually done by nine o'clock with our high school kids,” said Rodney Selph, the head football coach and athletic director at West Fork.
Selph said players have every opportunity to drink as much water as they want, they take breaks and get in the shade.
“We have ice towels, we have a bucket of just towels, they can pull them out and put them on their neck and put them right back in there so they're nice and cold. You know, and then we do the things that the AAA mandates which is we have the cold tub provided, just in case. Hopefully, we'll never have to use it,” he said.
A local organization is promoting proper hydration to prevent heat-related illness. Kendrick Fincher Hydration for Life does this by educating kids and the community. The group was formed in memory of Fincher, who died at 13 after he had a heat stroke at football practice in 1995.
Executive Director Kayla Lacavera says the key is to prehyrate, hydrate, and rehydrate.
“Hydration actually starts about two weeks before you're out in the sun. So when athletes are out of football practice, or you're out with your kids at First Friday, the hydration that you need for that day, really started two weeks ago. So that pre-hydrate is so important,” Lacavera said.
Once you get home from being outside Lacavera says rehydrating is critical.
“If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated, so that pre-hydration is so important when you feel yourself getting thirsty. A lot of people like to grab a bottle of water and chug it. It's actually better to just stay sipping on water all day,” she said.