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Athletes Heatin’ Up

Extreme heat affects athletes

Eric Pruitt, junior offensive line; Dylan Hall, freshman offensive line and Danny Goodman, senior offensive line, bury their head in the water cooler during a practice in last Tuesday’s heat. Athletic training staff monitor players for signs of heat exhaustion.

Rocky Robinson
Eric Pruitt, junior offensive line; Dylan Hall, freshman offensive line and Danny Goodman, senior offensive line, bury their head in the water cooler during a practice in last Tuesday’s heat. Athletic training staff monitor players for signs of heat exhaustion.

As the temperature outside pushes triple digits, the walk to class feels more like a stroll threw an oven. 

But that does not stop Emporia State athletics from hitting the field, track or court.  

Yesterday, an 18-year-old football player from Morgan State died of heat stroke during football practice and as the Kansas heat continues to bear down on everybody, athletes need to be especially careful, said Leslie Kenney, athletic trainer.

Even though Kenney has not had any heat related cases this year, she said it has been a problem in the past. 

“We have had a number of mild cases and every once in awhile we get a bad case, but we have never had one that was life threating,” Kenney said. “Prevention is our biggest thing to combat the heat. We try to education and help student athletes monitor themselves better.”

The NCAA implemented guidelines concerning heat back in 2003 after the last heat stoke death, but these guidelines only call for severe weather monitoring with routine hydration breaks. 

The heat can be especially challenging for those who are not used to the Kansas climate. Amelie Heun, freshman midfielder on the soccer team, has been fighting the climate change since her transfer from Kronberg, Germany earlier this year. 

“It is a big change,” Heun said. “I try to drink a bottle of water as soon as I wake up to make practice easier. It is especially tough when we practice on the turf and you can feel the heat coming up through your shoes. 

In response the recent heat wave, Bryan Sailer, head women’s soccer coach, has moved some of his practices to 6 a.m. to give his players a break from the heat.

“We have to play in it – that’s the thing,” Sailer said. “They are not going to cancel a game because of the heat, so we have to learn to play in it. This means we have to genuinely be used to it. It helps (that) our medical staff is very good and will rule on the side of safety.”

No sport seems safe from the heat. Even the volleyball team practicing in White Auditorium has dealt with the temperature. Fans lined the stage while temperatures in the gym pushed 80 degrees.

Whether if it’s a student athlete or a fan attending events on a hot day, Kenney said the most important thing to do is to come prepare and stay hydrated. 

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