Should High School Football Players Prep in the Heat [POLL]
It’s a rite of summer that with football season around the corner, football fields are dens of activity for kids trying out to make their respective teams.
But, are schools prepared for what could turn out to be a tragic turn of events should one of their players suffer heat stroke?
The eternal question: should football players be required to practice in the heat.
Especially given that the summer has been unrelentingly hot.
This is a quandary not only here, but all over the country as coaches grapple with the question of how much practice is too much practice…especially given that they’re working with kids who may not be in the best physical condition.
One football coach in Wisconsin, Al Minnaert, said preventing heat-related problems is a high priority.
"We passed out equipment today and we did the fitness testing we have done for the past 20 years," he said. "But you can never be too careful when it comes to monitoring your players."
WIAA deputy director Wade Labecki said member schools have been encouraged to view the latest online and free course — "A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Detection" — that has been distributed by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
"Last year concussions came to the forefront. Dealing with the heat is the next issue that we're trying to get ahead on," Labecki said. "We're trying to teach people how to recognize illness, teach them how to deal with it and to have their emergency plan in place.
"It goes over the basics," Labecki said. "We recommend it for anybody who is working as a coach."
While times have changed, Labecki said problems arise with those who haven't had the training and fall back on the attitude of "this is how we did it when I was a kid."
Labecki offered some tips.
"The best thing is to go slowly, take a lot of breaks and get the wet T-shirt off," he said. "They might bring three T-shirts out to the practice field so (they) absorb some that moisture."
However, even with every precaution being taken, the worst can happen….like this recent death of a high school football player from Staten Island.
Nicholas Dellaventura, a sophomore at St. Joseph by-the-Sea HS, was breathing — but had a soaring temperature — when paramedics rushed him to Staten Island University Hospital (last) Monday at 6:09 p.m., law-enforcement sources said.
Dellaventura had just finished a voluntary, 90-minute workout with his teammates, who had all taken a knee to listen to coach Rich Clark, according to New York Archdiocese spokeswoman Fran Davies.
As Clark addressed the team, coaches and teammates realized Dellaventura was struggling to breathe and couldn’t stand up on his own, Davies said. That’s when they gave first-aid and called paramedics.
The Vikings football player was pronounced dead several hours later at the hospital.
So the reasoning that “this is the way it was done when we were kids” falls by the wayside in the face of tragedies like this.
But the larger question looms:
If these are conditions our younger athletes will have to play in; shouldn’t they be required to practice in these conditions as well?
Should high school football players be required to prep in the heat?