Amid soaring temperatures, the grit of Phoenix high school football hottest season is about to be tested as teams gear up for potentially the hottest season on record. While the official kick-off isn’t until August 17th, the preparation is already in full swing, demonstrating the determination and commitment of these teams.
Teams such as Chandler and Phoenix Mountain Pointe chose to brave the scorching temperatures of 110-plus-degree days last week and held their summer camps at home. Both teams had unique strategies to beat the heat. Chandler’s players started their day at 7 a.m., while Mountain Pointe preferred to practice after sunset, at 8 p.m., as well as early in the morning.
Chandler coach, Rick Garretson, noted that although the weather was humid, his team took all necessary precautions such as resting under the shade of trees, under tents, and ensuring ample water intake.
Phoenix High School Football Hottest Season: Precautionary Measures and Guidelines
On the other hand, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) has guidelines for practices during this heat. David Hines, AIA Executive Director, emphasized the importance of hydration and avoiding direct sunlight, suggesting practice sessions either in the evening or early morning.
In addition to these guidelines, the AIA also has specific rules that schools must follow to combat the heat. These include acclimatizing athletes to the heat over a 14-day period, proper hydration guidelines, modifying practice/competition as per local temperature and humidity, and managing heat illness and heat stroke.
Dr. Erik Mattison, Director of the Emergency Department at Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center, strongly advised against late-afternoon workouts due to extreme temperatures. He suggested considering indoor workout options during the most excessive heat.
Mountain Pointe coach Eric Lauer shared his team’s strategy to acclimate to the harsh conditions, which involved working out from 8 to 10 at night and early in the morning. He also emphasized the importance of practice planning and providing additional breaks when necessary due to the heat.
Meanwhile, Poston Butte coach Dain Thompson shared how his program switched practice times a few years ago to avoid the peak heat. Freshmen practice in the morning, while junior varsity and varsity teams practice from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dr. Mattison pointed out that hydration starts the day before practice and recommended cutting back on sodas and caffeinated drinks. He also highlighted the signs of heat exhaustion that coaches and trainers should be aware of, including muscle cramps, nausea, and extreme thirst.
In this blazing heat, the main takeaways for teams are staying hydrated, avoiding peak sun hours, and looking out for symptoms of heat exhaustion to ensure the safety of athletes during this challenging season.