June 2020 - 28

over how a practice is run on warm
days, and avoid disagreements.
" The education that they receive
is important, " Coe said. " After head
injuries, heat injuries are the biggest
ones...we can't put a kid's life in
jeopardy. "
Climate Change
At Mashpee (MA) Middle-High
School on Cape Cod, Leslie Smith
patrols the grounds at one of
Massachusetts' most successful
small-school football powers with
a Wet-Bulb Globe Thermometer
throughout the late summer months
as her players work. Smith, who has
been the school's full-time certified
athletic trainer for four years, said
that she checks the readings at each
of the different fields that MMHS has
because of the school's layout.
One of the practice fields, she
explained, does not drain well and
is protected by woods on three
sides. The forest prevents the wind
from aiding in evaporation and that
particular field can be problematic,
especially since it is used primarily
for football during the fall. The
climate just a few hundred yards
away, on the main soccer field, can be
very different because of the layout's
openness and better drainage.
" We have to stay on top of things,
just to be safe, " she explained.
Smith, who said that she encourages
players to drink pickle juice and to
suck on mustard packets to help
fight dehydration, said she finds that
younger players are likely to have
more trouble acclimating to the warm
weather, but that they also show
signs of fatigue earlier. Their lack of
experience in the heat leads them to
" tend to burn out quicker, " she said.
" We will talk to them early on and
tell them that we want them to give
100-percent, but not to ignore the red
flag signs that their bodies give them.
The younger ones fatigue easier, so
we don't see as much trouble with
overheating with them. I find that it's
the older kids that get more (heat)
injuries because they might try to go
too hard and ignore it and play through.
Younger kids are easier to see when
they're starting to struggle, the older
kids have been through it before. "
In Mashpee it is not unusual that
the football roster may have just 30
or fewer players on the varsity roster,
with a good portion of that made up
for first- and second-year players.
Smith added that she also believes
that she has to worry just as much
about acclimation to cold weather in
the late fall.
" The kids are practicing just as
much, but they don't need to take
as many breaks because it's not as
hot, but they're still sweating, " she
said. " During night games, when it's
cold, we have to deal with a lot more
cramping because the players think
that they don't have to be as vigilant
(with staying hydrated) and the cold
weather shocks their systems. Their
bodies are combating the cool air and
their body heat being high because
they're sweating just as much. "
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June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2020

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