COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Health experts say the biggest danger in this extreme heat is dehydration. Coaches and trainers here at Jordan High School in Columbus are taking steps to keep their players cool starting with moving back practice times.
"You're out here in the heat, you're in helmet, you're in shoulder pads, kids are padded up, they're working hard, pushing on each other, running-- all that kind of stuff," explains head football coach Jim Brown. "The possibility of getting a heat injury."
Coach Brown says the triple digit temps are a concern for him and the Red Jackets as they prepare to hit the grid iron on Friday. He tells me he and the on-site trainer are taking extra precautions to ensure their boys do not over heat.
"Water breaks, cooling stations if we need them," Brown said. "You know, the shade. We have a trainer on site. We have wet bulb temperature gages that the trainer that the trainer is constantly monitoring."
The Youth Sports Safety Alliance reports that more than 30 football players have died from heat stroke since 1995. And the recent death of a Douglas County teen who collapsed at football practice brings this danger very real danger back to the forefront. And health workers say incidents like this are 100 percent preventable.
"Don't drink only when you're thirsty, drink all the time," says Katie Berry, a nurse at Midtown Medical Center. "There's nothing wrong with drinking water every 15 minutes, but kids get into trouble and they don't do that. And so, at the end of the game, they're downing all this water and that's not good for them either."
All tips Coach Brown says he's keeping in mind as the Red Jackets prepare for the 2014 season kick off.
"You know, we really are careful with these kids," Brown adds. "We do everything we can to try to watch and pay attention to signs and symptoms of these kids starting to get overheated."
Here at Jordan High School, practice times have been pushed back an hour to 4:45 and players are not practicing in full pads. The athletic trainer is also present at all practices in case of an emergency.