High school athletics must be mindful of players when heat index - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

High school athletics must be mindful of players when heat index is on the rise

Those living in parts of Michiana felt the heat index reach nearly a hundred degrees. With high school athletics underway, this means schools must be cautious when players are playing in games or practicing.

That is why Dr. David Van Ryn of Elkhart General Hospital is urging coaches and players to be mindful. He says players must stay hydrated and make it a point to takes breaks by getting out of the heat completely. He says doing these things will prevent heat stroke. "I think good coaches realize that this is very important. Kids are still prone to this despite their youth. Even young, healthy kids can have this occur to them," Van Ryn said.

Van Ryn says water is the best option for fluids to take in during this heat, but if you should choose a sports drink instead then he recommends diluting it with water.

Edwardsburg head football coach Kevin Bartz says keeping his players safe during days where the heat index reaches the high 90's is a priority."You know it's not old school football where you see how long you can go without water. We want to make sure we're giving them plenty of water and keeping them hydrated because you're going to get a lot more out of them that way," Bartz said.

The state doesn't take athletes playing in these conditions lightly either. The Michigan High School Athletic Association does not allow any games during tournaments to be played if the heat index reaches 104 degrees. "The state does a real good job of regulating what you can and can't do and we're concerned about our kids safety and we've got a trainer to make sure were abiding by all of these things as well," Bartz said.

Penn High School has made sure it keeps it's football players safe when playing under such warm temperatures. Athletic Director Ben Karasiak says during the last game the football team played, the break between quarters and halftime was extended for player safety.

At practices there are ice tubs and ice towels for the players. Karasiak also says players can take a break when they feel necessary. "It's that awareness factor and it's huge and our coaches are aware of it, just like everyone else. It goes back to using common sense," Karasiak said.

Edwardsburg opens their season on Thursday. Penn plays their next game on Friday.

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