With triple-digit heat indexes, metro schools take precautions to protect athletes

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The heat is forcing teams to make some changes to the way they practice.

In Kansas, schools had their second day of practice for fall sports under KHSA guidelines. It was also the second straight day with the heat index well over 100.

Blue Valley’s athletic director spends part of his school day monitoring weather conditions and then calling coaches with special instructions.

“It’s a heat index of 107 right now. We are standing on a synthetic turf field where no one is practicing because we aren’t allowing practices on synthetic turf fields," Lane Green said.

The tiny pieces of rubber that fill those types of field can raise temperatures by as much as 50 degrees.

“Even if you pick it up, it’s dang hot. It’s kind of hot in your hands," Green said, picking up the black pellets.

Instead football players were on the grass, getting plenty of water with a reduced practice schedule.

“You definitely notice it but we do a great job of getting water, staying hydrated," Blue Valley North senior linebacker Tim Foster said.

Tennis players on the courts baking in the sun nearby also took extra water breaks and limited practice time.

“It’s very hot. Like you walk out here and you are sweating," Mandy Unterhalter said.

“It feels like a warm blanket in the beginning, and then it feels suffocating," Divya Gupta said.

Cold water immersion tanks are placed alongside every middle and high school field as trainers are on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion, including dizziness and slurred speech.

“Our doctors at the University of Kansas say cool them down first call 911 second, getting them cooled down is the absolute most important thing you can do," Green said.

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