Coaches show how they protect student athletes while practicing in summer heat

ByMonique John WTVD logo
Thursday, August 4, 2022
Pine Forest HS coaches show precautions taken for students in the heat
School officials are taking special precautions to protect student athletes in the sweltering temperatures.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- School officials are taking special cautions to protect student-athletes in sweltering temperatures.

Pine Forest High School head football coach Bill Sochovka told ABC11 that their protective measures are a mix of tactics. One is to keep a close eye on the temperature outside, and the other is to teach young people about self-preservation.

Sochovka said that training student-athletes about proper nutrition is half the battle.

"There's a lot that kids can do at home in nutrition itself and hydration that helps out a lot. People kind of forget about that. The other part is, you can't just come out on August 1st and expect to be ready to play football and soccer in this heat. It really begins in our workouts that we have in May, June and July," Sochovka said.

He and his colleagues follow a heat index sent out by the state of North Carolina and Cumberland County. That index tells school officials and sports instructors what times of day are safe to have practice, and also tells them what kinds of practice they can have.

Still, Sochovka said the students incorporate practice time in the warm weather so their bodies can get acclimated to performing in the heat.

"We do a lot of skill development in the heat, and without equipment, for the most part so they get used to that transition. So when they come August 1st, they're not really getting hit with the wave of heat," he said.

Pine Forest's athletic trainer, Chris Green, explained that tailoring training and paying special attention to individual student's needs are also important.

"The ones that come out the first day, you keep an eye out for those guys, see how they're doing their drills. If they start to get a little sluggish or are slowing down when they come over to get water, you ask them how they're feeling," Green said.

Players at Pine Forest High School will have a lot of time practicing in the field in the coming days. Sochovka told ABC11 that the players will have two junior varsity games and two varsity games before the school year starts on Aug. 29.