Intense summer heat welcomed youth football players to their first day of practice.
Because of the triple-digit heat index, the first three days of practice are being held without pads, and coaches are making sure the sixth graders take plenty of breaks between stretching and drills.
"It's hot. We need as much water as we can, all right," the coaches said.
The Indian Nations Football Conference governs 35 football clubs in Oklahoma. It's league policy to get players used to the high summer temperatures, so, for now, only helmets, shirts and shorts are being worn.
"We keep them out of the pads and the really hot stuff. Again, we stress water, we stress 10 to 15 minutes for the first three days. Once they get through that acclimation period, they should be used to the heat and it starts to wear down from there," said Commissioner Chad Lott.
He’s encouraging coaches to push practices back to keep everyone out of the sun.
Warnings start to go out when the heat index pushes 110-degrees.
Parents with sixth graders know the drill, too.
"Some of these boys have been running already to get in shape; so, hopefully, they've done some of that. Other than that, drink a lot of water, stay off the pop, a lot of fluids," Stephen Herring said. "As a parent, you come to practice. You watch them practice, make sure they're still sweating and make sure they're not getting overheated."
The teams will have their first scrimmages in a few weeks. At those games, the referees also double as heat patrol, calling for longer breaks and stopping play based on the heat.