WAKEFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- As temperatures neared the triple-digits Friday, kick-off times across the Triangle were pushed back to try and keep players safe.
"I think the heat-related illnesses are in the front of everyone's mind," said Brent Dorenkamp, Head Athletic Trainer at Wakefield High School.
Wakefield's game against Southeast Raleigh started at 7:30 p.m., instead of 7 p.m. In Durham, ABC11's Game of the Week featuring Hillside High and Southern Durham started at 8 p.m., a half hour later than the original start time of 7:30 p.m.
For school staffers, preparedness is key. It was part of the idea behind coaches at Wakefield recently participating in training with Wake EMS.
"We were able to go through a couple of different scenarios, one was heat-related illnesses and one was a cardiac event. And then how would our coaches respond to those situations," said Wakefield High Athletic Director Chancey Wolfe.
Players are weighed before and after each practice to ensure they're replenishing enough.
"If there's a 3% difference then they're on our list. If there's a 5% difference in their weight, then they're not practicing," Dorenkamp said.
"We have the gallons of water (my son) brings everyday, so he's doing his best," said Quan Williams, mother of Southeast Raleigh senior Isaiah McClure.
Both Dorenkamp and Williams emphasized the importance of avoiding certain energy drinks.
"We talk about what it does. What does the stimulants and caffeine do to them, and what is that going to do when it's compounded with exercise. And then we talk about the diuretic effects of caffeine," said Dorenkamp.
"You don't want them to have too much sugar. So the Gatorades I buy are zero sugar. And even the Pedialyte drink I buy is zero sugar," said Williams.
Before the game, trainers from both teams met with the referees to review safety protocols.
"I think it's important to know that every school in Wake County has a certified licensed athletic trainer. We're one of the few school systems that has that," Dorenkamp said.
On the sidelines, Dorenkamp identifies high-risk players, checking for symptoms including dizziness and extreme fatigue.
Studies cited by John Hopkins Medicine showed the risk of developing a heat-related illness is more than eleven times higher in football than all other sports combined.