MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCBD) – Health experts from Trident Medical Center say consistent hydration is the most important thing for athletes, and at Friday’s Moncks Corner Jamboree, News 2 spoke with Berkeley High School’s head football coach about what they’ve done to beat the heat during summer practices.
The official start of the high school football season is right around the corner, but before players perform under the Friday night lights, they spend hours perfecting their craft in the Lowcountry heat, which Dr. Jared Bradley says can be dangerous.
“It puts our high school athletes at risk for heat stroke and dehydration,” Bradley said.
Bradley says the high heat is one thing, but the overbearing humidity that comes with those high temperatures is what causes issues for our bodies.
“Lots of moisture in the air,” he said, so the sweat that our body makes naturally isn’t able to evaporate and help pull off some of that heat. So, that kind of inhibits our bodies’ natural ability to keep us at a safe temperature.”
To escape the heat as best as possible, Berkeley High’s head football coach Eric Lodge says they avoid practicing during peak heat hours.
“We practice in the morning,” Lodge said, “so that’s something that really hasn’t affected us. Toward the end of our practices, it does get pretty warm out there.”
The Stags’ first-year coach says they have several resources and strategies in place during practice to ensure their players remain safe.
“We have trainers that are at every workout,” Lodge said, “every practice that we do. The hotter it gets; we definitely make modifications whether it’s taking off equipment or giving more water breaks. We just kind of follow the standards that are set.”
Bradley says it’s imperative that athletes know their limits when enduring those grueling practice conditions.
“Don’t try and push yourself over the top,” Bradley said. “Be aware if you’re starting to become tired, weak, confused, things like that to keep on the lookout for.”
Bradley says water and sports drinks are best for athletes to rehydrate, and Trident Medical Center officials report their physicians have already treated several athletes for heat-related illnesses over the course of the summer.