High school football means heated practices

It's August, which means it's soon back to school and back to high school football. It also means tough practices in the heat.

Posted Updated

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — It's August, which means it's soon back to school and back to high school football.

In one week, football players will take to the Southview High School football field for the season's first scrimmage, which means they have to practice – and they have to sweat.

Try doing that in the heat. Temperatures across the Triangle and central part of the state reached the mid- to upper 90s Thursday, and heat indices rose above 105.

That's why Southview High football Coach Randy Ledford holds practice at 8 a.m.

"By 11 o'clock, it's tough," Leford said.

All other high school football coaches in Cumberland County are on the same call sheet – morning practice only.

But Ledford says he doesn't want his players to completely avoid the heat.

"We preach to them all summer about doing their running and getting in the heat, getting used to it," Ledford said.

Cumberland County Schools requires all outdoor physical activity, including band practice, to stop when the heat index hits 105. Each school athletic trainer has a heat index stopwatch to know when to call off practice.

Leon Mack, director of student activities for Cumberland County Schools, says high school athletes must also get 15 to 30 minutes to cool down for every 30 to 40 minutes of physical exertion.

"Any activity that requires physical exertion, the athletes are required to go inside, and all outdoor activity is to cease," Mack said.

Players are encouraged to drink as much water as they want, Ledford said.

The school district says there have not been any reports of heat-related illnesses among students this week.

A spokesman at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center said the hospital hasn't received any patients with heat-related illnesses either.

Fire officials in Fayetteville say, however, that they have had to respond to a few cases of heat exhaustion involving outdoor workers and people who have not been staying hydrated.



Bryan Mims, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.