LIBERTY, Mo. -- Monday marks the official start to high school football practice, and local athletes plan to take extra precautions as the thermometer is expected to reach into the mid-90s.
When you think football, you think about all the concerns surrounding head injuries and concussions, but the heat can be even more dangerous.
Football players at Liberty High School are combating the heat by having practice early. The players started practice at 6:30 a.m. and by the time it starts getting hot, they'll be done practicing for the day.
Doctors recommend football players and all athletes practicing in the heat drink a lot of water the night before practice, and when it gets really hot during practice, doctors want coaches to give their athletes a ten minute break every hour so they can drink water and rest.
“This pretty excessive heat out there right now,” Dr. Barry Gilmore with Lebonheur Children's Hospital said. “The higher the humidity the less the ability for the body to get rid of excessive heat. At maximum activity they burn 20 percent more energy and that means 75 percent of that extra energy goes directly to heat," Dr. Gilmore said.
Missouri has a 16-day heat acclimatization program where practice can only go three hours long with one practice per day during the first week. Athletes are also not allowed to wear pads until day six in an effort to help the athletes slowly get used to the heat.