SPRINGFIELD -- It's been one of the hottest starts to June on record in Springfield. For athletes, working around that heat for safety purposes is a priority.
We are enjoying a bit of relief this week with slightly cooler tempereatures, but it's sure to heat up again before long. There is more to keeping athletes safe than just drinking water.
Springfield Public Schools has 19 different sports, and you will find just about every one of them engaged in summertime activities.
Assistant Director of Athletics for Springfield Public Schools, Marty Marsh, says they constantly balance safety with Missouri State High School Activity Association summer rules.
"MSHAA provides 20 contact days with student-athletes, then you've weight training and that sort of things that is on top of that," Marsh explains.
Marsh says their athletic trainers have their eyes on many things during workouts.
"Our medical staff that we have on daily at all of our practices knowing what those conditions are. Heat, the head, the heart, and healthy practices," Marsh says.
Drinking water is obviously key to staying clear of heat-related illnesses, but there is more too it than that. Dr. Jim Raynor with Mercy Sports Medicine says hydration is only part of the equation.
"People underestimate the value of sleep. They understimate the value of proper nutrition, and consitent nutrition. Equipment use, the amount of contact, the amount of minutes, all of that is closely monitored," Raynor says.
Trainers even keep an eye on water loss with daily weight checks before and after practice.
"If someone loses more than two percent of body weight via water, they are at a significant risk for dehydration and the associated heat illnesses with that. At the collegiate level, they stay in the dorms, they stay closely affiliated with their teams, coaches, and sports medicine staff. That doesn't happen at the high school level. High school kids go home," Raynor says.
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