Heat raises concern at a Tulsa school's football practice

Tuesday, August 20th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

It's football season! And athletes are outside practicing in blistering heat, sometimes twice a day!

Tuesday’s heat proved to be too much for one young Tulsa athlete. News on Six reporter Patrina Adger went to Byrd Middle School for the story.

August is one of the hottest months of the year. And it's also this time of the year when athletes are out here the most. Football players are gearing up and getting ready now for the season. In order to perform at their best, practice is a must. Sometimes practicing outside, n the heat.

The temperature at 8 in the morning was 79 degrees when Byrd Middle School's football team practiced on the field. Half an hour later a player complained he wasn't feeling well. EMSA personnel determined he was dehydrated. Tulsa Public Schools Athletic Director Stephanie Spring says the boy sat on the sidelines and drank several cups of water to cool his body down.

Spring says its district policy to have plenty of water on the sidelines for athletes to drink during practice. "They had all the water out there that they needed. But I think kids need to realize they need to keep themselves hydrated before during and after practice to avoid getting dehydrated and getting ill." Spring says she recommends football coaches schedule practices before noon and after five o'clock, the coolest times of the day.

Spring says what happened on Byrd's football field is not a common occurrence. She says the coaching staff is well trained and prepared to take action if a student ever passes out or gets sick. "We've emphasized to our coaches as far as making sure they have enough water, taking frequent water breaks having water at practice all the time. I think the coaches in this particular situation handled it very well.”

The young boy is doing fine.