Football practice means staying safe in Louisiana heat

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Football season is back, the pigskin, the turf, the good old hot gridiron; and Dunham High School starting quarterback Jyron Walker has big plans for the coming season.

"Making it all the way to the dome. Trying to win every game and play as hard as we can," said Walker.

A lot of weight on one's shoulders but he understands that he has to set an example for the entire team.

"I'm not really a vocal leader that much but I try to lead by example doing the right thing and practicing hard," said Walker

And that means going full blast in this intense August heat; something that could quickly put him and his teammates at risk, if not supervised correctly.

A study done by the centers for disease control and prevention says football players run 10 times the risk of heat related-illnesses as compared to other sports, especially in August. Dunham's trainer Mike Whelch knows heat issues can be serious.

"That's a huge deal, and usually we are dealing with something where we need to manage where it can be a life threatening situation," said Whelch.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association oversees high school sports in Louisiana. We asked them about their rules regarding August football practices and heat related safety concerns. They sent us a statement:

"Although, there is no LHSAA rule that would require a trainer to be in attendance at a practice or a contest we highly recommend to our member schools that medical personnel be in attendance. Ultimately, that decision is left up to the individual school or school system."

So trainers like Whelch and the schools are responsible for making sure the young athletes don't overheat with dire consequences. "We tell them about the dangers of the heat dangers of dehydration and we also explain to them that they need to watch out for their fellow player," said Welch.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.