Players battle heat in preparation for Kansas Shrine Bowl
HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - Instead of dealing with the typical chill in the air often associated with the heart of football season, athletes preparing for Saturday’s Kansas Shrine Bowl in Pittsburg are having to acclimate to a much different forecast.
Between this being the hottest week in Kansas and players practicing on turf football fields, coaches say they’re taking precautions to make sure the athletes stay safe. The West Squad is practicing at Fort Hays State University.
“After we got here, we actually just started adjusting. Like, ‘listen, nobody’s gonna get sick or hurt.’ We’re here for a great cause, but none of these kids deserve to have something bad happen to him,” Wichita Collegiate High School Head Football Coach Troy Black said. “So, if we have to practice 30 minutes and go into a gym or something to walk through, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Practice times was one major adjustment Black and other Shrine Bowl coaches had to make. The practices are staring earlier in the morning and later in the evening with shorter time out during the afternoons.
“We kind of shortened things down. We’re going about an hour and a half in the morning and we kind of bumped it up as early as we can,” Black said. “We’re kind of tying into the breakfast schedule. Evening, we push things back, so we’re finishing under the lights. The afternoon, we’re just literally doing a walkthrough.”
With any sort of activity in the triple-digit heat, it’s important to stay hydrated, and there is an extra emphasis on that for this year’s Shrine Bowl.
“We’ve done the best we can to keep them hydrated with water breaks,” Black said. “We’ll have big, five-minute water breaks for everybody every 15 to 20 minutes.”
Although the high temperatures are altering the practice schedule, the players say their work ethic hasn’t changed.
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