A misstep on the practice field earns a Reagan High School football player ten push-ups, as student athletes in helmets and pads sweat it out in the Houston heat. Hard work is expected, but Reagan head coach Stephen Dixon says they also tell their players not to overdo it.
“Well at this point in time we try to make sure the kids are well-hydrated, a couple of hours before we start practice. Make sure they get plenty water during practice.”
A student assistant stands at the ready, placing water bottles around the field. Also ten Reagan coaches, trained in first aid and CPR, keep a watchful eye on the players as they go through their drills. Dixon says they’re looking for things like profuse sweating.
“And sometimes even in this kind of heat, you know, they may not be sweating at all. They may have clammy skin, things like that, you know, even when its 103, 104 degrees out here, they may feel like they’re cool. And so those are the times we need to make sure they get out of the heat immediately.”
HISD also hopes to ward off heat-related problems by requiring players to undergo physicals.
“You’ve got to make sure that the kids don’t have any kind of heart ailments, things like that. You’ve got to make sure they don’t have high blood pressure, because the heat can definitely get to them. You’ve got to make sure that their cholesterol level, all those kind of things are normal.”
And the district has also put limits on practice time, keeping students off the field between 10 AM and 5 PM.
“You know, we have to adhere to those rules, and I think it’s a good thing. They’re looking out for the kids’ safety.”
Gail Delaughter, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.