PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – As Central Illinois faces heat advisories, local schools are helping their student-athletes beat the heat.
With some competitions underway and the start of most fall sports just around the corner, this week, local coaches and athletes have to prepare for their opponents and hot temperatures.
“It’s been a rough week and we’ve got a couple more days of it,” said Katie Cazalet, Dunlap High School athletic director.
To keep athletes safe, Cazalet said communication is one of the first steps.
“[We’ve been] touching base with all of our coaches who have competitions or practices going just to make sure we’re communicating what the heat level is outside,” Cazalet said.
The next step is action, whether it’s additional water breaks, finding shaded areas, or providing even greater cooling resources.
“Our athletic trainer is great. She has ice towels available if we have student-athletes that need those. We [also] also have cooling tubs available,” Cazalet said.
Peoria High School Athletic Director Brien Dunphy said during extreme heat, practice formats may look different.
“Golf is a good example where students can really get spread out around the golf course in practice. We just don’t do it that way when temperatures are high,” Dunphy said.
He also said it’s important to educate athletes on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
“If it’s 90 [degrees] and you’re going through great exertion, sweating is normal. Stopping sweating is not, so immediately stop activities, talk with a trainer, tell a coach,” Dunphy said.
Both athletic directors said when it’s extremely hot, every step must be taken to put athlete safety first.
“We definitely want to do all we can to make it as comfortable for them, [and] most importantly, as safe for them as possible,” Cazalet said.
Dunphy said it’s also important to build relationships between athletes and staff. He said this may make an athlete more willing to tell a trainer or coach when they aren’t feeling well.