Athletic trainers help high school football teams during hot summer season

SALT LAKE CITY — On these blistering hot days, it's hard to imagine young athletes practicing outside. Some coaches cancel practice, but others are lucky enough to utilize a resource through Intermountain Healthcare.

Highland High is one of about 15 local schools that get access to Intermountain TOSH Athletic Trainer, Mitchell McKay.

“We do a lot before our practices even start,” says McKay.

A few hours before practice starts, McKay is out on the field checking the temperatures of the different surfaces with his infrared thermo gun to determine how to make practice in the heat as safe as possible.

“The hotter the field is the more water breaks we need,” says McKay.

With triple-digit temperatures, these players are taking water breaks every ten to twelve minutes.

“What we`re really worried about in temperatures like this is are athletes getting dehydrated, not having enough water, losing that water weight,” says McKay.

They're also drinking Powerade or Gatorade. Coaches require players to drink three to five 32-ounce bottles during a two-hour practice.

“As we sweat, we lose things like calcium, magnesium, and sodium,” says McKay.

McKay also hands out Pedialyte pills which contain all the nutrients from a Gatorade without the sugar.

Highland High head football coach Brody Benson says the boys start preparing for the extra heat that comes with pads during the off-season.

“Week two we incorporate a hat. Week three we start going long sleeve and we`ll be long sleeve and hat all the way through summer,” says Benson.

“It’s really hard having pads, helmets on, like that because you can’t have that sweat evaporate to cool yourself,” says McKay.

Making sure they’re truly conditioned for the conditions before the heat becomes too much to handle.

The first sign of dehydration is thirst. If you're thirsty for water, you're probably already dehydrated.

The symptoms of heat illness include dizziness, vomiting, pale skin, and cold sweats.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.