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New Guidelines Go Into Effect To Protect Young Athletes From Heat

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Union is holding a conditioning camp for 3rd through 6th grade football players, 12 sessions over three weeks. Union is holding a conditioning camp for 3rd through 6th grade football players, 12 sessions over three weeks.
"The reason we're doing some of these kinds of things is to get them ready for August, so they're not caught off guard by that," said Union Head Football Coach Kirk Fridrich. "The reason we're doing some of these kinds of things is to get them ready for August, so they're not caught off guard by that," said Union Head Football Coach Kirk Fridrich.
The coaches constantly remind the kids to stay hydrated. The coaches constantly remind the kids to stay hydrated.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The excessive heat is having effects all over our area, from water supply issues to heat related health problems. Children are especially susceptible to the heat.

Youth football conditioning camps are already underway, and now coaches are required to follow new guidelines that just went into effect to help keep kids safe in the heat.

Union is holding a conditioning camp for 3rd through 6th grade football players, 12 sessions over three weeks.

"The reason we're doing some of these kinds of things is to get them ready for August, so they're not caught off guard by that," said Union Head Football Coach Kirk Fridrich.

Since heat related illness is the leading cause of preventable death of high school students participating in activities, it makes sense for the coaches to constantly remind the kids to stay hydrated.

"And then we spend about half our time inside, where it gives our bodies a chance to cool down," Fridrich said.

The coaches are also holding the workouts in the mornings and evenings, avoiding the hottest part of the day.

"You know, anyway, we have to schedule it away from the heat, there's no doubt about that," Fridrich said.

The Oklahoma Athletic Trainers Association and the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Association developed a heat policy that went into effect July 1. Practice must be limited to2 1/2-hour sessions, with a minimum of one hour between sessions, and practices can't be more than a combined five hours in one day.

Also, as part of the policy, all coaches just prior to practices must use a smart phone app or some other device to find out exactly what the heat index is going to be.

"You obviously have to take those safety precautions and take them seriously," Fridrich said.

Union's head football coach said many schools have already adopted the safety measures which are now mandatory, especially since there has been so much new information about sports science in the past few years.

"Now what we're realizing is that we could have probably done a better job throughout the years, and now that we're educated it's our responsibility to change the way we train our kids," Fridrich said.

Under the new guidelines, each program must also have a heat related emergency plan on hand, and coaches are required to educate students and parents about the importance of hydration.

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