High School football coaches learn about heat - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

High School football coaches learn about heat

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SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN (WRCB) -- A new school year is just around the corner for Hamilton County students, and that means football season is getting underway. This week, coaches are learning how to keep players safe, while they're on the field.

Gone are the days of proving toughness by playing hurt or refusing water at practice. This is a new day, a day with more info, and hopefully a day with fewer injuries.

Before the Friday night lights come on area coaches packed into a dark auditorium at Signal Mountain Middle School. The Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics held a free seminar with student athletes' health the number one concern.

"First and foremost, they're going to be educators, then coaches, and occasionally they're going to be first responders, so it's helping them gain knowledge and education that they may need to help care for those athletes when they become hurt," said Dr. Jason Robertson with CSM.

Dr. Robertson said today's seminar included info on everything from nutrition, concussions, bone and ligament injuries and of course heat issues.

Signal mountain head coach Bill Price says times have changed; luckily for the better, "back in the 70's there wasn't water breaks. That was part of getting tougher or whatever. Now through professionals in the industry we know that's not the best thing for athletes."

Tennessee doesn't require schools to have athletic trainers, so coaches have to balance several jobs. Which include keeping up with TSSAA's heat index rules. That's a combination of temperature and humidity.

If the heat index is 95 and below is considered okay. If 95-100 you need more water breaks, and limit time on the field. If 100-104 the state requires you to take off all pads and equipment, and 10 minute water breaks are required every half hour. If it surpasses 104, practice is canceled.

Dietitian Pamela Kelle says student athletes need to do their part to prevent heat stroke well before practice even starts, "when it's hot outside, an athlete may think I need to drink a lot of water, it's too late. So even two days before an event, especially if we know there's a lot of heat in the air they need to start getting their fluid needs up."

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