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The Daily



08-15-03: Football player collapses
    A Marion Local Schools football player collapsed on the practice field from heat exhaustion Thursday morning as humidity levels in the area reached near 100 percent.
    The high school senior, whose name was not released, reportedly had trouble catching his breath and was transported by emergency squad to Community Hospital, Coldwater.
    "He was given IV's (intravenous fluids) in the emergency room before being sent home," said Marion Local Schools Athletic Director Stan Wilker.
    Wilker said the heat, combined with the fact the boy ate no breakfast before the 7 a.m. practice began, likely contributed to the problem.
    "I talked to Tim (Coach Goodwin) and he said they took a break every eight plays, at least every two hours," Wilker said.
    Goodwin also told Wilker the team frequently removed their pads to stay cooler and were quite often offered opportunities for water.
    Like most other schools, Marion Local holds practice early - at 7 a.m. - so workouts can conclude before noon when temperatures are at their peak. Beginning Aug. 4, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) allows coaches to begin two-a-days - practice in the morning and again in the evening - to avoid the warmer time of the day.
    The OHSAA suggests athletes of all sports adjust to the heat slowly over the first 7-10 days of outdoor summer practice.
    Coldwater physician, Dr. John Naveau, said he recently read a new study on the subject in the July 21 edition of the Medical Letter.
    "It apparently takes weeks of training in the heat to adjust," Naveau said. "Unfortunately, it takes only six days without practice in the heat, according to the journal, to lose what you've gained."
    Sweating leads quickly to dehydration, so the OHSAA advises athletes to "drink up" and modestly salt foods consumed after practice to help retain fluids, says the OHSAA.
    A 3 percent weight loss through sweating is safe, the OHSAA states in a help guide to coaches. Symptoms of heat exhaustion - or more seriously heat stroke - are nausea, incoherence, fatigue, weakness, vomiting, cramps, weak rapid pulse, visual disturbances and unsteadiness.
    "With everything that's been happening in the NFL, with players collapsing and dying from these things, you have to be very, very diligent," Wilker said.
    Wilker said there are experienced coaches and trainers on the field with the team all the time, as well as ice and plenty of water.
    "We take this very seriously because we know kids seem to think they're invincible out there. Their safety and health is our number one concern," he added.


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