• Heat threatens high school athletes

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    At Penn Hills high school the players are focused on one thing; A championship caliber season.

    "We're going at it, we're ready," said running back Jordan Boswell. "We're going for a championship."

    They're putting in the work needed to get there, but doing it all under the hot sun, under the watchful eye of their coaches and athletic trainers. That can lead to potentially deadly situations, where players are left vulnerable to heat-related injuries.

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    John Norwig knows a little about working athletes to their top potential. He's the head trainer for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Norwig says his players face the same concerns as high school athletes when it comes to training in the summer heat.

    "When we enter into high school football one of the things we worry about is issues with the heat," Norwig told Channel 11. "When you think about heat you have to think about it actually months in advance."

    Trainers like Norwig stress the importance of hydration, daily weigh ins, and wearing breathable clothing during practice. He says the most important thing is to speak up.


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    "You're not soft if you're telling somebody you don't feel right," Norwig said.

    Avonworth School District Athletic Director Tim Giel agrees.

    "In the past it was not cool to step up and say something," Giel said. "If there is a serious injury or a serious problem it's okay to say I'm not feeling good."

    That goes for more than the players. Marching band members, cheerleaders and even fans are taught to closely monitor how they feel in the heat. Penn Hills head coach John LeDonne says schools now have staff on hand to respond to issues fast.

    "There's definitely a lot more awareness now with heat exhaustion, heat stroke, things like that," LeDonne said. "We have a pretty good training staff here."

    At Penn Hills, we saw the two full-time training staff members keeping a close eye on everything happening on the field.

    Players started working through drills in pads. The added weight, can make it tougher to move. The athletes we spoke to said careful summer conditioning has helped them prepare. The rest, comes from knowing what's good for your body.

    "It's really being smart, you know?" said Penn Hills running back Terry Smith. "You can't just go out there and be killing yourself every practice Give effort definitely, intensity, definitely. But it's really just being smart."


     

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