MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Scorching hot temperatures are driving athletes inside for safety reasons.
Lausanne High School’s football team practiced inside the gym on Monday to avoid heat exhaustion or stoke.
“If the heat index is above 104, then we’re inside,” said Lausanne’s Head Football Coach Kevin LoCastro. “Partially because we want to take care of our kids, but mostly because it’s a TSSAA policy.”
TSSAA’s policy also requires coaches to provide “ample amounts of water” to players during a high heat index. Head Coach Kevin LoCastro says this is his team’s fourth time practicing indoors since fall camp began.
“I prefer to be outside, but I feel like days like this,” said wide-receiver Nick Floyd. “Like we’re inside, it really helps mentally. Since we’re not practicing inside, you know we want to stay hydrated so we don’t have cramps. People get a lot of full-body cramps so we don’t get them later on in the season.”
Since this week’s index reached a dangerous 115 degrees. Dr. Dale Criner at St. Francis says keeping liquids handy is crucial.
“It’s going to be important to be pre-hydrated even before they get to practice,” said Dr. Dale Criner with St. Francis Hospital -Bartlett. “They want to drink at least a bottle, preferably two bottles.”
Health officials say drinks like Gatorade are a better option than water.
“Certainly if you’re expending energy outside, sports drinks do actually replace you electrolytes a little better,” said Dr. Criner. “The sugar and carbohydrates in there, especially the carbohydrates for the athletes, are a little bit more important.”
St. Francis Hospital has even seen an increase of heat-related illnesses in the last 2-3 days.
“We have seen unfortunately in the last 2 or 3 weeks some cases of heat stroke as well,” said Criner.
LoCastro says he expects the team to be back on the field Thursday or Friday.
“We’re just real smart about how long we practice and obviously the health of our student-athletes is much more important than preparation for a game and missing practice outside,” said LoCastro.