Temperatures of over 100 degrees in the past two weeks have forced some sports teams to adjust practices and raised concerns about athlete’s health.
But while coaches offered more chances for hydration and shifted practice times, most Rio athletes said they were expected to practice to their fullest extent.
On one 102 degree day last week, the girls’ golf game was canceled, but cross country held the usual practice.
Runners said that the cut off for cancelling practice is 103 degrees.
The heat has raised concern among many players and worried parents, for obvious reasons. Being out in the extreme heat for too long and exerting yourself playing a sport can result in bad heat strokes.
Heat stroke is a very real risk in young athletes. According to the Centers for Disease Control heat stroke is the leading cause of preventable deaths in youth sports.
The CDC reported in 2010 that there are about 9,000 cases of heat related illness in high school students annually. The number of cases have gone up too, with the number of sports-related heat stroke deaths doubling since 1975.
Many of the sports teams have altered their practice schedule to accommodate for the heat. “We canceled one practice about a week ago due to the heat,” said Sam BLANK. “Our policy for cancelling practice is if it’s over 103 degrees, or if the air quality is dangerous.”
Heat stroke is the most common in football, with three reported deaths from heat stroke a year since 1995. Many studies have shown that developing a heat related injury is 11.5 times more common in football than in all other sports combined. Football is also the sport with the largest number of fatalities related to heat stroke in the US.
The football team has had to make many changes to the way they practice during the recent heat wave as well.
“Because of the recent heat, we’ve had to change practice to 4-7,” said football coach Sammie Stroughter.
The team was also provided water at these practices, but there were some issues with this too. “The team provided ice water, but by the JV team drank it all,” said Jose Miranda, a player for the Varsity football team.
“I believe the kids have been doing a great job at practice,” said Stroughter. “They’ve done a great job hydrating and eating the right foods so we’re not out there cramping up and passing out.”
The team has also found unique ways of practicing in different locations to battle the high temperatures. “We adjust our schedule sometimes,” said Stroughter. “We have swimming pool practices, or we go to the gym.”