Young athletes take weeks to re-acclimate to brutal outdoors, expert says

KLEIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Rising temperature this week is impacting a number of area schools as student athletes return to the field.

With temps soaring into the triple digits, water breaks were as important as the drills Klein Cain High School football players put themselves through Tuesday.

"The most important thing is student safety," Klein ISD director of fine arts Joel Wren explained. "We can't have a good team, or a good band if our kids are ill, or not feeling well."

Klein ISD said it worked with local health experts to develop a heat strategy. It's a plan that impacts not only athletics, but the band as well.

This week, practices are starting earlier and later to beat the heat.

"Once it gets up to air temperature over 105, then the teachers have the latitude to make sure that practice is canceled or very, very short and work inside," Wren explained.

Houston ISD said it has plans in place to reduce kids' exposure to extreme heat. Katy ISD will adjust practices to mornings and late afternoons.

At Clear Creek ISD, officials are monitoring the temps and will pull students from outside if it gets too extreme.

Eyewitness News spoke to Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute physical therapist Emily Gardner about what parents should do before and after practice when there's extreme heat.

"Our kids are going back and they're not going to be at the same place that they were in the middle of last season," Gardner explained. "Be aware that it takes a couple of weeks to ramp up."

Here are some things you should do before your child heads to practice.

First, make sure they're hydrated. Get them to drink water or something with electrolytes at least three hours before practice. Give them something with simple sugars, including granola bars.

Also, make sure they avoid fatty foods. After practice, make sure they have a complete meal, and stay hydrated.

Make sure you watch for heat issues, including fatigue, headaches, and cool, clammy skin.

"If they don't seem to perk up within an hour, an hour and a half after practice," Gardner said. "If they're continuing to complain of a significant headache, undue fatigue, they're not acting like themselves, those would be good reasons to get them to the doctor."

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