MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — As high school football kicks off this week, many schools are set to take the field, but the heat felt across Tennessee Valley is having some effects on the beginning of the football season.

With heat advisories in effect through Friday, officials are urging Alabamians to know signs of heat-related illnesses.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says the common heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion, heat strokes, and heat cramps, something one coach is well aware of.

Buckhorn High School head football coach Matt Patterson says in the wake of the heat, his program has changed the way they’ve prepared student-athletes for the upcoming season.

“We’ve basically taken our practices and just divided it in half 45 minutes to an hour in the morning 45 minutes to an hour of what we can squeeze in 4th block and if we have to go after school a little bit, we do that but player safety is our number priority,” Patterson told News 19.

A heat advisory has been issued for the Tennessee Valley through Friday at 8 p.m. With that, many football teams across North Alabama will be waiting a bit longer until they can begin their first game of the season.

That’s because of the extreme heat that has caused schools to move kick-off times to 8 p.m. so that student-athletes can play in cooler temperatures. Patterson says his school was on board with that decision, stating his player’s health comes before anything.

“If it’s 106 [heat index] or above, we’re helmets only for an hour with a lot of breaks and a lot of water. 15 minutes on the field, 15 minutes inside. We don’t want to do anything to put anybody’s child at risk due to heat, especially with something we can control like altering our practice,” Patterson said.

With the football season set to begin on Friday, Patterson says although preparations for the heat are important, he understands some heat-related situations are unavoidable.

“I feel like our guys are ready, you know, we stay hydrated, we eat well but it’s high school football and it’s the first ball game. The adrenaline gets pumping, you know you’re going to have some heat cramps, you’re going to see some guys go down,” Patterson said.

News 19 spoke with HEMSI spokesperson Don Webster, who said people should be staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks out of the heat. He added that HEMSI will be on the scene at every Madison County football game come Friday for any potential heat-related episodes.