Athletes must be cautious in extreme heat, experts say

Tips for keeping hydrated and healthy

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Athletes and particularly young athletes will be practicing throughout the summer especially as we approach football season.

They'll be in the hot sun working hard, and it's important players, coaches, and parents are cautious. 

Football season is well on its way and athletes all over the county will be hitting the courts or diving in soon enough.

But even those fittest among us, need to be very careful when exerting so much in the heat, explained Dr. Katherine Thomas of Memorial Hospital. 

"The message for young athletes doing summer training would be to stay hydrated. You're going to need probably twice as much water and things like Gatorade and hydration than you probably normally would. Especially football players out there who are covered in pads and don't have an easy way of dispelling that heat and sweating it out and controlling their body temperature," said Thomas.

Jason French works with USA Football and held a clinic Saturday for youth football coaches focusing on health and safety practices for their hundreds of pre-high school players. 

The weather was so hot, the clinic was moved inside. 

French says in addition to drinking lots of water, athletes must watch what they consume outside of practice.

"You should not just jump in, playing Call of Duty and drinking Mountain Dew and just run into the field," said French. 

He warns of depending solely on drinks other than water.

"Don't think that just because they drank three Gatorades that they're hydrated. They need to make sure that they're drinking actual water," added French.

A great way to check if you are hydrated enough?

"Check your urine, you can go online find urine color tests. Make sure that your urine is the correct color you need it to be to stay hydrated," advised French.

Kevin Powers is a longtime coach with Golden Empire Youth Football and is the program's first Player Safety Director.

He says the repeated hydration message forms good habits. 

"Day after day, year after year, I've had some that's played with me a few years, and eventually it starts clicking like, 'Ok, I've got to keep myself hydrated, I got to take care of myself," said Powers.

During this heat wave, Golden Empire Youth Football and Cheer are taking no chances and already announced due to excessive heat they will not practice next week.


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