As the temperatures continue to rise in the Santa Clarita Valley, local prep teams are trying to combat the heat to the best of their abilities.
Since July 5, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued six heat warnings for the Santa Clarita Valley, with the latest having been extended through July 31.
“When temperatures are high, even a few hours of exertion may cause severe dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said Muntu Davis, health officer for Los Angeles County, in a statement.
The extreme heat can throw off a team’s practice schedule, forcing coaches to hold practices early in the morning or late in the evenings. Practices are also being postponed or cut short.
The Canyon girls soccer team held its June summer camp from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. everyday, as opposed to late morning or afternoon tryouts.
Hart football head coach Mike Herrington has already moved his team’s practices to 6:00 a.m. next week to avoid the blistering heat.
According to The Weather Channel, highs are forecasted to range from 101 to 106 degrees between Aug. 6 to Aug. 9.
While finding the ideal practice time is important, staying hydrated is key to avoiding any heat illnesses.
The CIF released a guide recommending that athletes hydrate adequately before practice and then continue to drink water every 30 to 45 minutes during practice.
The Saugus football staff always has water readily available for its players in the form of Gatorade squeeze bottles which are constantly being refilled. A medical team is also on hand at practice with coolers filled with ice.
Canyon football coach Rich Gutierrez has been adamant that his players take frequent water breaks during practice.
For the Foothill League football teams, the season starts a week earlier than last year, increasing the likelihood of warmer conditions for the first couple weeks of play. However, most games take place in the evening when the temperature cools down, so chances of a game being canceled due to extreme heat are low.
The CIF also recommends gradually introducing practice equipment over a two-week span, as wearing pads, helmets and uniforms will increase a person’s body heat. Gutierrez had his team practicing without pads and helmets earlier this week, with some players choosing to go shirtless.
To hammer home the importance of staying hydrated during the heat wave, the CIF started a “Beat the Heat” Twitter campaign, sending out weekly tweets throughout summer with reminders and links to resources.
One of its other recommendations is to have athletes weigh in before and after practice to check hydration levels. The amount of fluid an athlete loses should be replaced before another workout session.
For more information and tips, visit the CIF website.