Students return to football practice amid heat wave

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 21:17:25-04

San Diego high school and junior high school football players are heading back to practice, but a heat wave this week has brought up the issue of how to protect the young players.

Chance Stout was swinging the bat at Brickyard Cages on Wednesday, but soon, the eighth-grader will be running the football at Hillsdale Middle School.

Chance will head back to practice in El Cajon with a forecasted high near 90 degrees. He said he's seen other players get sick a handful of times and even throw up during warm conditions.

While there aren't specific laws governing what's considered too hot to practice outside, San Diego schools follow guidelines from the California Interscholastic Foundation. One of the top recommendations is giving players 7 to 14 days to acclimate to the heat.

"We do one week of all conditioning and we don't have any pads," Chance said.

The CIF says protective gear should be added gradually and so should the intensity of training.

The CIF also recommends players weigh in before and after each activity. For every pound lost, players need to drink at least eight ounces of water before heading back out.

"Our coaches give us more water breaks so we won't get dehydrated," Chance said.

It's not just the temperature that increases risk to players, it's the heat index -- what the air feels like with added humidity.

A heat index from 82-90 degrees puts players at very high risk of heat-related illness and the CIF calls anything above 90 degrees simply dangerous.

When Chance goes back to looking for a touchdown, it's up to coaches and parents to look out for his safety this summer.

Members of the Sweetwater and San Diego Unified school districts told 10News that athletic coaches undergo training to recognize symptoms of heat-related illness.

Click here to learn more about the CIF's free course on heat acclimation and illness prevention.