With local temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, the focus has turned to precautions taken by Lawrence-area high school sports teams.
Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd has had players become overheated, but they have never passed out. LHS employs a full-time trainer in case players become overheated. In such a case, the player can move to a shaded tent. If severe situations occur, players can immerse their bodies in one of four tubs full of ice water. During each practice, Wedd issues a 10-minute water/rest break, and a water cooler is brought to each drill.
"They're allowed to drink water any time the coach isn't talking, coaching, teaching," Wedd said.
Much of the preparation takes place well before practice begins. Wedd encourages his players to pre-hydrate. The school allows players to bring water bottles to class, and Wedd tells them to ingest water throughout the day.
"We don't want them walking by a water fountain without taking four or five gulps," he said. "You can't wait until lunchtime."
No matter how prepared the Lawrence staff is, however, most of the responsibility falls on the players to condition themselves during the summer.
"If all you do is get up at 11 a.m. in the morning and play Nintendo, you're not going to be ready no matter what we do," Wedd said.
Free State High soccer coach Jason Pendleton has also taken precautions to ensure proper hydration during soccer practice. He said the team usually went through 10 gallons of water per practice.
Pendleton doesn't have a set number of water breaks for his team, but said players could receive hydration whenever they needed it.
"It's not like back in the day when I played football and water was guarded like gold," Pendleton said. "After a period of intense activity, we'll make sure they're hydrated."
The heat has not run the soccer team off the field. Pendleton said it was beneficial for his team to acclimate itself to the hot temperatures, so players have become used to the conditions.
Pendleton said players should pre-hydrate with water and sports drinks.
There's also the recovery time, after practice.
"We actually encourage our kids, when they leave practice, to drink low-fat chocolate milk," Pendleton said. "A study by Indiana University says that has the right mixture of carbohydrates and proteins to help them recover and put them in a better situation toward both hydration and muscle recovery."