High school coaches keep close eye on climbing temperatures

Full pads and helmets in the head is all part of New Orleans high school football, but that doesn't mean coaches aren't conscious of the dangers.

"We caution them that if they feel a certain way, they need to go and get some water," said St. Augustine Head Coach Cyril Crutchfield. "The main this is just making sure player safety comes first.

Coaches at St. Augustine High School say when temperatures start inching towards the triple digits, they take extra precautions like pushing back practice and scheduling extra water breaks. The school trainer is also on high alert for signs of dehydration or head exhaustion.

"Some signs and symptoms are disorientation or stumbling," said St. Augustine trainer James Edelman. "Or if they're just not acting like themselves.

"That's his job," added Crutchfield. "He's out here going through every drill, monitoring everything that's going on."

With temperatures in the mid-to-high 90's and expected to climb higher in the next few days, keeping the football players hydrated has become a priority.

"You can lose five to seven pounds of water out here with the equipment on. You have to restore that in order to play," said Edelman.

The reminder to hydrate isn't just for athletes. Dr. Peter DeBlieux with Interim LSU Hospital says every year they see patients who push themselves too far.

"Things as minor as swelling to elevated temperatures to heat rashes to heat stroke, which can lead to brain damage," said DeBlieux.

And knowing the limits is something St. Augustine coaches have drilled into the players.

"Since it's so hot, they tell us to hydrate and stretch," said Collin Williams, a senior. "We've had people get full body cramps from not hydrating and not stretching."

Players, like Williams, know the game doesn't mean much if you can't play.

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