Student Athletes Take Steps to Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses - 8 News NOW

Student Athletes Take Steps to Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses

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LAS VEGAS - The heat is on, and the name of the game is to stay cool. This is the first week of training in pads for the varsity football team at Palo Verde High School.

"It gets really hot," said Palo Verde player Ryan Beaulieu said. "We have all our gear, pants, a girdle. We got big ole' shoulder pads. We got our helmet(s). If you wear a visor, it gets foggy, and it's hard to breathe. So, I mean, it gets… it gets really hot."

"When we do our running back drills, we have to go right after another - one group after another - and you get really tired, and you need a break," Beaulieu said.

Last year's northwest division champs are getting ready for a new season, hoping to reclaim their 2004 state title.

"We got a lot of talent. We have a lot of talented players who are here that our really dedicated," Beaulieu said.

Panthers coaches and physical trainers are playing safely.

"It's not just drinking water during practice, it's before and after where they really have to take care of themselves and make sure they're drinking water throughout the day too," Palo Verde head coach Darwin Rost said.

Across the country this summer, a record number of high school football players have died from heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. The deaths prompted the Centers for Disease Control to issue warnings encouraging coaches and athletes outside in hot weather to be proactive.

CDC Offers Tips to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

"It's really scary," said Palo Verde athletic trainer Nicole Rogers. "We're in the desert, and the likelihood of us hitting over 100 on a regular basis is extremely high, and it's scary."

Aware of the dangers, these student athletes receive frequent water breaks and nutritional advice, so they can stay healthy and focused on the prize.

"It makes me make sure I'm prepared for what's gonna' happen and make sure I hydrate and everything," Palo Verde player Jacob Witham said.

To reduce the chance of heat-related illnesses, Palo Verde holds practice early mornings and early evenings. The CDC suggests anybody doing anything athletic outside should limit outdoor activity, particularly during the mid-afternoon hours.

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