Heat, humidity, and exercise. When these things are put together the results aren’t always so great.
Sports and after school activities are being affected by the summer heat that has carried into autumn. Coaches are modifying practices due to high temperatures from August to October.
“We’ve had to limit things when it comes to practices. We have to take numerous water breaks and have to continually remind the girls to hydrate,” said Brittany Ritter, Cedar Shoals softball head coach.
When the practices get limited the athletes believe they don’t get as much done.
“When we practice inside everybody realizes it’s not going to be a very taxing day. Altogether we still have a high work ethic but we’re not that committed to running when we’re inside the gym,” said Calvin Williams, a junior cross country runner.
“When it’s too hot outside, we either play inside the band classroom or go to the gym. It’s hard to work on marching because we don’t have as much room as we do outside. The heat really limits what we do,” said Jane Michael, a freshman trumpet player.
Coaches believe that the heat and the limited practices are affecting overall performance.
“(The heat) affects our endurance. At this point, we are a young team, but we are progressing very quickly. So as we go on with these players, we’re going to have to find a way to push through the heat exhaustion that comes with seven-inning games,” Ritter said.
The 2019 summer season was packed with high temperatures that carried into October. A record high of 98 degrees was reached on October 2.
“It was a late start because in June it wasn’t extremely hot, but it got very hot by August and we’re still having high temperatures at the beginning of October,” said L’Dreco Thomas, Cedar Shoals High School Athletic Director.
With the temperatures in mind, students try to stay hydrated so they can get through the hot practices.
“It all depends on if we’re drinking enough and if we’re getting all the nutrients and fibers into our bodies to keep us healthy and prepare for the heat,” Williams said.
“I tell myself mentally to get ready and I drink water throughout the day,” Michael said.
The coaches worry about their athletes staying hydrated and cool.
“Last week when it was really hot outside, our coaches started to get the hose and turn on the water and spray us as we were running laps to cool us down, so that really helped,” said Williams.
GHSA enforces guidelines for high school athletic practices. When temperatures reach 92 degrees or higher all sports are required to cancel their outdoor practices.
“The heat is something we have to check daily. We used to use something called a heat index but now GHSA mandates a wet bulb, which is a thermometer covered with a water soaked cloth, and when that gets to a certain degree we have to modify our outdoor sports to protect the athletes,” Thomas said.
No matter the temperature, coaches are concerned about the physical and mental health of their athletes.
“Teenagers think that they’re invincible,” said Ritter. “So they’ll be like, ‘Oh, yeah I’m good. It’s 100 degrees, I can push through’ and when they start feeling kind of crappy, they’ll still push through. And that can present its own host of scary potential mishaps.”