High school football kicks off in extreme heat

Temps will be hovering near the triple digit mark through most of the weekend.

Football coaches are keeping a close eye on the forecast as the temperature will still be in the upper 90's by kickoff Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Now, coaches, trainers and officials are getting their game plan in place to deal with the extreme heat. There's more awareness about the dangers of heat especially on the football field. Coaches and athletic officials know heat exhaustion and heat stroke are extremely dangerous and even life threatening. That's why tomorrow night you're going to see plenty of water breaks throughout the games. As well as coaches and trainers looking for the signs of fatigue"You'll notice those kids who are profusely sweating, you can see when they're getting a little bit warm, because they'll be nauseous or dizzy, not alert," says John Hardin, head athletic trainer for Spain Park's football team.{} Hardin knows what to look for when the team takes the field on a hot Friday night"The kids may get a little sluggish, they may have a headache. They may not be able to react to certain things secondary to heat related stuff," he says.Hardin says coaches prepare players for hot temps well before the kickoff of the first game"(With) heat tablets, just plenty of fluid, hydration throughout the week so you're not coming into the game Friday night with half a tank."

At the Alabama State High School Athletic Association, Alvin Briggs, director of the coaches association, explains the work done by the officials during games in extreme heat.{}"The coaches in the state of Alabama are very, very diligent in making sure they take care of their athletes," says Briggs.For the first four games of the season, referees will stop play at the six minute mark of each quarter to allow for a one minute water break. On games during the daytime, that break is bumped up to two minutes.{} "Officials will talk with the coaches about that during their pre-game talks every game during those first four games and then from the fifth game on, it depends on what the weather is like then, they'll talk about the heat time outs then,"{}Briggs explains.Coaches are required to take a heat acclimation course that teach how to handle the heat."Every coach in the state of Alabama has to take it. It's done online, it's free. It's a 30 minute course and teaches them about all the warning signs, we develop a lot of things that help our coaches."John Hardin{}offers this. "We're trained professionals as athletic trainers. We're trained to look for the signs of heat exhaustion, heat cramps, we're trained to provide the immediate care. We need to make sure we're taking ample time to take care of our athletes"