Football coaches eye excessive heat as pre-season practice kicks off

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - The dog days of summer are upon us, and that means two things for young athletes: hot weather and two-a-day practices.

Coach Treadway's expectations are high for his Walnut Ridge Bobcats this year.

He's been coaching for nearly 40 years, and his biggest fear is having a player down on the field.

The most dangerous, and sometimes lethal, part of summertime is the heat index, which is expected to reach a boiling 110 degrees this week.

The danger is even higher after athletes put on full gear, which can add 10 extra pounds to the uniform.

That's why he watches the humidity very closely and encourages several water breaks.

"We'll have the doors up. It'll get good and warm in here, but it'll get us out of the sun. We won't have the air on so it'll warm up. We'll condition in here, which will really help us a lot, because we're close to our ice whirlpool. We're close to anything, that if anything should happen that endangers anybody's life in any way, we're right here on top of it."

Coach says practice starts tomorrow at 8 A-M with the doors up and A-C off.

Treadway will go over precautions, make sure everybody has their physicals, before moving on to training.

The daily practice cannot exceed three hours, so coach expects them to wrap up around 11 o'clock--before the worst heat of the day kicks in.

"We'll try to weigh them to make sure they don't lose too much, from how much water they drink to how much they lose at the end of the day."

An ice whirlpool was put into the new field house after the Arkansas Activities Association enacted several rules to protect youngsters from heat illness.

The rules state that two-a-day sessions on back-to-back days are not allowed.

And 3 days of conditioning are required before practicing in full gear.

"We'll probably go 3 days in helmets, maybe throw the shoulder pads on the 3rd or 4th day, put full pads on the 5th day."

More information on AAA regulations can be found here.

Click here to find out if your hometown is under a heat advisory.

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