HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Temperatures are inching closer and closer to hitting triple digits for the first time since 2012.
The extreme heat means extra precautions are needed at high school football practices.
For the Hartselle football team, and countless other teams across the Tennessee Valley, when it comes to beating the heat, the remedy is old school.
“You just try to encourage [the players] day in and day out about staying hydrated and eating good and getting plenty of sleep,” said Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey.
According to a University of North Carolina study, football players are eleven times more likely to suffer heat related illnesses than all other high school sports combined.
To combat the risks, trainers and coaches focus on prepping the athletes days, weeks, even months before they gear up.
“We have a pretty good off-season program and our kids work extremely hard in the summer, really year round, to prepare for this month,” said Godsey.
“Coach tells us not to think about the heat, just come out here and play like it’s our last time we ever get to play,” said Hartselle cornerback Ja’Mal Jackson. “So we try not to think about it and just drink as much water as we can.”
Despite the preparations, Godsey says the extreme intensity of games on Friday nights can still get to some players.
“We’ve been pleased with how we’ve handled the heat, as far as practice goes, but it’s a whole other story when you get on the field.”
Kickoff temperatures for this week’s games are expected to be around 90 degrees.