LEHIGHTON, Pa. -- The heat index was about 100 degrees in some parts of our viewing area on Wednesday, but high school athletes didn’t have the day off. Coaches made sure their teams stayed cool in the steamy weather.
The sun was bearing down on the Lehighton Indian’s football practice. Players were dressed in full gear as temperatures lingered in the 90s.
“It's pretty tough. The heat always takes a toll on you throughout the day, but just trying to relax before practice and then preparing for this as best I can, staying hydrated,” Indian’s quarterback Chris Whiteman said.
“Within the drills, we're taking a few extra water breaks. We got the ice towels so when they take a break, they kind of put it on the back of their necks, you know, we as coaches even have a little fun and squirt it on the backs of their necks,” head football coach Tom McCarroll said.
On the next field over, the players on the varsity girls soccer team said this practice broke records, but not the kinds they want to break.
“It's probably the hottest practice we've had all season so far,” senior Amanda Mathisen said.
“We are constantly communicating with each other, letting each other know if we need a drink, if it's too hot, stay hydrated before practice and after, not just during,” senior Amya Quinoes said.
Beyond just staying hydrated, other athletes were relieved to take a dip in a tub of water chilled to 50 degrees. Athletes said it cooled them down and gave their muscles a break.
“It was thoroughly awful. We only made it to about halfway through the workout before we almost all passed out,” cross country athlete Sarah Laible said.
At Jim Thorpe High School, the varsity football team practiced in full pads and the junior varsity team went a little lighter, but both emphasized the importance of staying cool.
“Biggest thing is, be smart as a coach. Make sure you give them breaks, lots of water breaks, helmets off when you're not playing there actively, so the heat can escape and so forth,” Jim Thorpe High School Football Coach Mark Rosenberger said.
Athletes and coaches agree that safety comes first, but if you want to win, you have got to be on the field. Players should be getting a break on Thursday as temperatures cool down.