TACKLING THE HEAT: High school football teams keeping cool under the pads
Friday Night Football starts back up next week, but a string of extremely hot days is slowing down the progress of high school football teams in the area.
The Heritage High School Generals scrimmaged in full pads Wednesday afternoon following a heat index of 109 degrees this week.
"You're not really telling them to stay cool because they can't. It's going to be hot," Heritage High football coach EK Slaughter said.
Coach Slaughter is watching his players more closely this week and the trainer is taking extra precautions to keep the team safe.
"If we've got to take pads off, if we've got to shorten practice, if we've got to add breaks; she does a very good job of making sure the guys stay safe," Slaughter told Channel 3.
Wednesday was the first time in four days the Heritage players have worn pads because of the extreme temperatures. The team had to practice indoors earlier in the week.
"We didn't go outside so we stayed plenty cool. It was 72 degrees," said Coach Slaughter.
Now outside, coaches are looking for the danger signs of heat exhaustion in their players: if they look fatigued, having a hard time catching their breath, or quit sweating all together.
READ MORE | Prevent heat exhaustion or stroke
With the Friday night lights burning again next week, Coach Slaughter hasn't lost sight of what's most important.
"A lot of it is just trying to be responsible with our players." Slaughter added.
Slaughter says too many coaches put the game ahead of the kids.
"It needs to be about the players and just understanding it's okay if you miss a day. Your season is not going to change because you missed a day of pads practice," Slaughter told Channel 3.
He says at the end of the day it's important to have a refreshing perspective.
"It's meant to have fun. It's not meant to risk your life. If you have to back it up a little bit, if you have to cancel some stuff, then do it. It's not a big deal," said Slaughter.