How coaches keep players safe in the heat

Teurlings Catholic football players stay cool during their August practice Tuesday.(Photo: Scott Clause Special to The Daily Advertiser)

Due to dangerous heat conditions throughout Louisiana, coaches in the Acadiana area have had to alter practice conditions in order to keep their players safe as temperatures keep rising.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association released a document providing guidelines for coaches on how to safely run their practices.

The documents highlights the need for proper hydration and scheduling practices around the hottest part of the day (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), while closely monitoring individual athlete’s weights.

According to the document released by the LHSAA, a loss of 1-to-2 percent of body weight in a practice can hinder performance and a 3 percent loss greatly increased the risk of a heart-related illness.

Athletes are required to weigh in before and after practice in the same clothes to ensure accuracy and prevent any injuries.

A memo was sent out to all Lafayette area public schools informing coaches to only start practices after 6 p.m. to avoid practicing in the direct heat.

Northwest coach Chris Edwards said the Raiders have been practicing early in the morning, starting at 8 a.m. so they could be done before 10, and then starting the second practice at 5 p.m. inside and moving outside closer to 6 p.m. to keep the players cool.

“We want to practice, but we want to make sure the kids are safe,” Edwards said.

Teurlings coach Sonny Charpentier said the Rebels have been starting later and increasing the duration of the team’s breaks.

“We get them in the air conditioning for 15 minutes to get core temperatures down,” Charpentier said.

The Rebels have also been practicing without pads and helmets whenever they can in order to decrease the weight of their uniforms.

Cecilia coach Terry Martin has gone a step further in getting his players out of the sun, moving Monday’s practice entirely inside.

As temperatures continually rise into the triple digits, the LHSAA has urged coaches and trainers to use their best discretion when practicing and training during times of extreme heat.

“The health and well-being of our student-athletes should always be our top priority,” the LHSAA wrote in their heat safety guide.

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