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BRAD ROBICHAUX — Athletes and everyone else needs to stay cool with summer workouts

Work hasn’t stopped for many athletes hoping to stay fit while all team practices and workouts were on hold because of COVID-19. Now that it’s been a week since the University Interscholastic League allowed schools to hold limited on-campus sessions with their players, a small degree of normalcy has returned.

The risks haven’t gone away, though, and not just from the virus.

Memorial High School head football coach Brian Morgan said he didn’t expect his players to be in peak condition once practices at the school were allowed.

“Even if they’ve been working out, they haven’t been doing the same type of workouts at a strenuous level that we do, so you’ve got to recondition these kids,” he said. “You worry about it a little bit for the bigger kids, because some of those kids are typically the ones that struggle in the summer heat anyways.”

A combination of summer heat and a slack workout schedule caused by the pandemic is going to be tough to navigate on top of the social distancing and hygiene requirements from the UIL.

All players are entering a tougher-than-usual period of training because of this confluence of issues. Everyone MUST make sure they are keeping themselves safe. This means doing everything possible to stay cool and hydrated.

Some tips offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include:

  • Stay indoors with air conditioning whenever possible. This could be difficult, given the UIL’s social distancing requirements, but health should always come first.
  • Pace your activities. Start slow and gradually proceed to more difficult routines.
  • Wear lightweight, lightly colored clothing.
  • Avoid scheduling outdoor practice times in the middle of the day.
  • Keep tabs on each other. Check up on another athlete to make sure they’re still feeling fine. Have another athlete check up on you. Know the signs of heat-related illnesses.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Of course, drink plenty of water, more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty.

These tips apply to anybody getting out in the hot summer sun for robust activity.

If you see someone struggling, check upon them and get them to someplace cool. Get medical help right away if you see someone with a high temperature, hot red skin, fast strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea or loss of consciousness, as these are all symptoms of heat stroke.

There is a new normal now, and everyone will do well to embrace it and become acclimated to it, even if it means changing up the way traditional summer routines are done.

In fact, there might even be a bit of good that comes from the hold on practices, Morgan said.

“Summer workouts are hot,” he said. “They’re tough because there’s no game at the end of the week. It’s tough to fight through that, so I think that’s something they’ll benefit from this break.”

Find more information about staying cool in hot weather at https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/extremeheat.

Brad Robichaux is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at brad.robichaux@panews.com.