Tips for keeping student athletes safe in extreme heat

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 28, 2015) - The football fields at Northwest High School were empty Tuesday afternoon as the sun beat down and the temperature soared about 90 degrees. School officials decided to call off afternoon practice due to the weather. Warren Township Schools ended up moving football practice inside to keep students out of the heat.

"We want to make sure that the coaches are observant of their athletes in terms of being groggy or just not feeling right, asking questions, talk to them make sure that they also know that water is available throughout practice not just in the designated water breaks," said Nick Inzerello, Senior Director of Development with USA Football.

USA Football provides training for coaches, teaching them  how to spot signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.  Inzerello said it's important to remember that kids heading to practice might not be used to spending extended periods of time outside. He encourages coaches to reevaluate their training schedules when the temperature rises.

"Coaches really need to be observant of the practice plan to design the right amount of time to give their athletes breaks, let them hydrate, let them get under the shade and modify your practice plan based on the heat," said Inzerello.

Heatstroke occurs when your body is unable to regulate its own temperature. Kids and the elderly face a much greater risk. According to Eskenzai Hospital, a child's body temperature rises about five times faster compared with a healthy adult.

"Parents should be aware of how long their children are outside in the long-term and what they're doing to control their body temperature be that loose fitting clothing as well as hydration and water and Gatorade and those types of things," said Brian Genovesi, an emergency medicine resident with Eskenazi Hospital.

Signs of heat-related illness include a headache, confusion, slurred speech and nausea or vomiting. In some cases people may experience changes in their sweat patterns, they may stop sweating despite warm temperatures or begin sweating excessively. Other symptoms include flushed skin, shallow breathing or a racing pulse.


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