With official football practice starting Monday, there was more to worry about than Xs and Os — the heat.
With temperatures hovering in the high 90s and the heat index in the 100s, South Effingham coach Greg Manior is consulting with team trainer Chase Grant on heat illness prevention.
“He lets us know what the heat index is and through sports medicine and St.Joseph’s/Candler, he has a pretty good gauge on when to go out,” Manior said. “He lets us know when it’s OK to take our kids out and we are real conscious of heat related illnesses and injuries. We want to keep our kids healthy.”
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for Effingham County and the surrounding areas and the NWS forecasts no relief in sight.
Manior said he keeps an eye on his players during the school day and constantly tells them to stay hydrated.
“I see a bunch of them on lunch duty and I make sure they get a good lunch and a lot to drink, especially water,” he said. “We preached to them all summer on the importance of hydration and told them how hot it’s going to be.”
Manior gives his players plenty of water breaks during practice and to keep more players hydrated quickly, he said the team purchased a new water system that has 12 nozzles.
To keep the players out of the scorching heat after school, Manior said the team will practice in helmets and T-shirts for an hour or two and review fundamentals, take a break to cool off and finish practice in full pads.
“It’s not much cooler around 6:30, but it’s bearable,” he said. “It’s less of a risk if we come out at six.”
Monday, the Mustangs took team pictures at 4:30 p.m. and hit the field at 6 p.m.
Quarterback Jeff Hamilton said the key to beating the heat is to drink plenty of water during the day.
“I drink plenty of water all day,” he said. “Plus, I’m used to it. I worked all summer doing roofing.”
The Centers for Disease and Control says that heat-related illnesses can be prevented by proper hydration. The CDC recommends that people doing physical activity outdoors drink 16-32 ounces of cool fluids each hour.