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Oklahoma Youth Football Players, Coaches Battling The Heat

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A young football player drinks water on the sidelines. A young football player drinks water on the sidelines.
Players should start hydrating the night before they play, officials say. Players should start hydrating the night before they play, officials say.
Everyone on the field needs to guard against heat exhaustion. Everyone on the field needs to guard against heat exhaustion.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The Indian Nation Football Conference games are taking place in Broken Arrow - and players, coaches and parents are combating the heat.

Temperatures easily topped the 100-degree mark at the youth football games Saturday, and coaches tried to get ready for the heat. They're filling up water bottles making sure the players were hydrated.

It is a ritual every coach and parent goes through before a football game on a hot summer day. Plenty of water is needed when youth football players are making plays and scoring touchdowns in the heat.

For the past four weeks, coaches prepared the players for the heat during practices.

"We want all our boys to stay hydrated along with everyone on the field, parents, kids, everyone," said Laura Sherman, football parent.

Laura Sherman is like many youth football parents who support the teams during games by keeping coolers filled and the players hydrated.

"We already know our coaches are going to be prepared, so we make sure we have Gatorade available for them after the game," she said.

Commissioner Chad Lott says the conference preaches hydration to everyone, and coaches are trained to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion through the required USA Football certification.

"Nothing beats water. The hydration period should start 24 to 48 hours beforehand and really getting them hydrated," said Chad Lott, Indian Nations Football Conference commissioner.

On opening weekend, 170 youth football teams played in 26 different locations.

Depending on how hot it is and where the field is actually located in our area, the referees will stop play every four minutes so the teams can break for water.

Coaches encourage football players to stay hydrated on and off the field. Sherman says she makes sure her fourth grader is always taking in his fluids.

"You can't ever just leave it up to someone else; you can't leave it up to the coaches or, you know, another parent," said Laura Sherman, football mom.

Sherman said parents need to be dependable so their kids can depend on them for help.

Players have helmets on, and sometimes it's hard to tell if they're dehydrated. Conference officials say the easiest thing a coach can do is always be talking with them to check for signs of heat exhaustion.

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