OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana high schools are gearing up for the upcoming football season. Coaches are taking extra steps to make sure the players stay safe while practicing in the extreme heat.
Coaches are taking extra precautions to protect players from extreme heat. (Source: KNOE)
Ouachita Christian head football coach Steven Fitzhugh is making sure his squad is prepared to take on the heat. "We're going to take a water break every 15 to 20 minutes, especially when it's hot like this,” Fitzhugh says.
He knows it’s even more important now as most teams begin practicing twice a day. “Our first practice this morning, we were on the field from 7 o’clock to 9 o’clock, so it's a lot cooler than it is in the afternoon."
Fitzhugh also makes sure his team gets proper rest between practices. So, he says the Eagles will have at least five hours between each practice for his athletes to recover. While the players are away, he encourages them to continue to rest and hydrate to properly recover.
Jon-Thomas Dixon says he’s excited to put on the pads again, but he knows the challenges the heat will bring to practices. "Coming back this first day, it's already fun, because we're ready to get back out here, but this heat is really throwing a towel in things,” says Dixon, senior OCS linebacker. “But, we're still excited and we're going to do our best."
He’s hoping to end his senior season with the state title in hand, but his team will have to work for it. “It's going to take hard work,” Dixon says. “It's going to take everybody in the right mindset, everybody with a good attitude. I believe that we have that so far."
Along with the right mindset, the success will come from listening to his coaches’s reminders to drink plenty of water. "They make sure we go home and rest and hydrate,” Dixon says. “They tell us that every day after practice. It's on us to do it though."
The high school football season begins September 5.