Keeping student-athletes safe in the Summer heat

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FREMONT, Neb. Since 1995, three football players a year on average have died of heat stroke... and most of those players were in high school. With Two-a-days coming and the summer heat lingering - Serese Cole tells us what athletes, parents and coaches can all do to stay safe.

This is how players at Fremont High get ready for football season.

The workouts are tough.

The heat - makes them even harder.

Last month the heat indices reached 115 degrees. That made for some rough practices for football player Keegan Menniang.

"It does get a little intense. I was feeling lightheaded and couldn't really breathe," Menniang recalled.

"I feel like all of us have experienced the dizziness. I've thrown up before. A couple of other girls have thrown up before from the heat," shared Cross Country runner Mia Wagner.

Both athletes told someone right away. But that's not always the case.

"It is very dangerous," said John Carda.

Methodist Fremont Health's John Carda is the Certified Athletic Trainer for Fremont High.

He says heat-related illnesses happen fast.

"Their bodies can lose moisture - and gain heat much quicker than an adult," Carda explained.

While he and the coaches can't control mother nature…

"We can control our practice intensity. We can control the equipment whether we wear it or go without it that particular day," Carda added.

Students and parents need to control their hydration.

"It's not unusual to see water jugs during the summer workouts - but athletic directors tell me these student athletes should drink water before practice, after practice and even days leading up to their summer workouts," said Serese Cole.

They also need to work out in the heat long before practice starts.

"You have been out in the heat. You have spent some time doing some work in the heat. Your body has adjusted to the environment. Typically that takes - a number of days," Carda explained.

And everyone needs to pay attention to the warning signs.

"The things I look for is their mental state number one. If things aren't clicking very well - they're kind of lost out there a little bit," Carda said.

Carda stays ready - just in case a player is ever in trouble.

"You want to address that right away - do some cool down, take them out of the drill - rehydrate, he said.

Keeping students healthy this Summer - so they can compete their best come the Fall.

Back to those warning signs to watch out for...
Anytime a student experiences nausea, vomiting - or a headache when out in the heat - there could be a problem. Coaches are advised to stop the activity and have students sit out and cool off. Athletic trainers will know if or when emergency assistance is needed.