TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As players soon don helmets and pads, others will begin practicing in temperatures that could hit triple digits. The strenuous exercise combined with extreme heat could lead to serious problems.
"We got two-a-days coming up in a week so we'll be out here sweating in the heat," said Micah Clark.
"If you come out here unprepared, it's going to be brutal for you," said Craig Schambach. "It's going to be hot. You're going to be sweating."
If athletes are not careful, hours of exercise plus an unrelenting sun can be a deadly combination. Dr. Matt Jones says 31 high school football players have died heat-related deaths in the last 12 years.
"It is almost impossible to get enough water because the sweat just won't cool off," said Jones. "You have to catch up on the fluids...It does make a big difference if they've been training some during the summer."
Doctors say the key to hydration is filling up on fluids before you work out. That bottle of water you had before practice might help temporarily but it just takes 30 minutes for your body to sweat it out.
"About two hours before getting out on the field, drink about three 8 oz glasses of sometime type of fluid," advised Jones.
After practice starts, doctors say you should refill every 20 minutes. Dehydration symptoms can come quickly. Dizzy spells, fainting, muscle cramps, and chills signal a serious case players should never ignore.
"The athlete needs to take the advice, go ahead and say don't push through it and be tough," said Jones.
Prevention is easy. Keep the water close by and give athletes a chance to show their skills come Friday nights.
Dehydration is not the only issue facing student athletes.
Azalea Orthopedics is participating in the "STOP Sports Injuries Campaign," an initiative of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Orthopedic surgeons are seeing an increase in injuries among youth sports participants. The high rate of injuries at a younger and younger age is driven by an increase in trauma and overuse injuries. Azalea Orthopedics will be offering educational seminars for sports teams, clubs, schools, and other organizations this summer. For more information, call Leslie Fossey 903-939-7712.