Local high school football players are gearing up and heading back to the gridiron as temperatures continue to rise in the Tennessee Valley.
Friday night football is just weeks away, but before we get to crisp and cool night games, teams have to practice in the summer temperatures. Many local high schools began running their practices this week ahead of the first day of classes.
The Red Bank Lions are in full pads amid the summer heat, the team guzzling water in between drills. Many football teams like Red Bank practice early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
Red Bank's Athletic Trainer Josh Ivens said he's constantly monitoring conditions and the well being of athletes.
"The body can start to overheat and we can get into a heat stroke after that. All your body systems could shut down and we could have a serious emergency if that arises,” Ivens said.
Lion's Head Football Coach Chad Grabowski knows this first hand and can spot it right away.
"You can tell they are sluggish and they are not quite up to par compared to those who have been taking care of their body staying hydrated and stuff,” Grabowski said.
Disorientation, confusion, and unresponsiveness are just some of the signs of heat illnesses and the key indicators coaching staff look out for during each and every practice.
"They always make sure we have water. Even once we break down and head back inside coaches are reminding us to drink water and make sure you drink it at night because it's not going to help when you come out here,” said Outside Linebacker Courvoisir Bell said.
Pre-hydration is key; coaches at Red Bank encourage their players to drink at least 32-ounces before coming to practice.
"Once they get out here if they aren't hydrated, it's too late. No matter how much we put in fluid wise it's too late,” Ivens said.
Red Bank High School says athletic trainers are on hand at every football practice to monitor players and work with coaching staff to educate the team.