High school football teams beat the heat

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Call it the drink of champions--water. Montgomery Academy football players know just how important it is to drink a lot of it.

"I'd probably pass out if I didn't have a couple water breaks every now and then," says Senior Jack LaPlatney.

It's the same story across the state--football coaches and their teams battling the blazing heat to get ready for fall.  And all the while, they're drilling a common mantra into players' heads --safety first.

"We have a number of water breaks during the practice and also we have a half hour break session where we get off the feet, we go into the weight room, into the air condition...get some Powerade," says Montgomery Academy Head Coach, Anthony McCall.

"You just really gotta stay on them. Make sure your guys are drinking, because some of them will get to feeling a little sick and don't want to drink. But you gotta make them continue to drink through this heat," says Wetumpka High School Head Coach, Chad Anderson.

The scorching temperatures prompted many teams to hire professional trainers just to monitor kids while out on the field. Glen Criswell is one of them and says he sees kids needing to sit out of practice several times a day.

"It's oppressive out here," says Criswell.

"It's been tough, two-a-days are always really hard especially with this heat," says MA Senior Carter Goodwyn.

And while parents understand how draining the practices are, Josie Eskridge trusts the coaches to watch out for her son.

"They've been doing this for decades. I mean, my husband did this in high school and it's just part of what they do. And I think the coaches, I know the coaches know what they're doing and they care about the players. And there are trainers on the field, so I know the boys are safe."

Coaches and parents say they're encouraging kids to start drinking water the night before practice.

Some schools are even practicing in the morning.

Still, coaches say it's a no-win battle because even then, the humidity is high.

Officials at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery say they're seeing about 10 more cases per day than normal of people suffering heat illnesses.

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