Published 3:00 pm Monday, July 31, 2023
With the temperature climbing to nearly 100 degrees and high school sports activities beginning; make sure your athletes are hydrated. If you are a coach or bandmaster; do not take it for granted that every kid will hydrate. Make sure they have plenty to eat the night before their practice. The later the better and make sure they eat breakfast!
There was a time and many can relate to these times that water was not needed. It was a sign of weakness! We all played in a time that Coach Wagner would not give us water breaks. He gave us salt tablets! Charlie Alligood tells me that he and other linemen in their class found that Fred “The Head” Swindell would leave a rag in the bottom of the water bucket for them. Billy Talley, William Neal Martin and Frankie Briley would squeeze that rag into their mouth before they ran wind sprints. The water fountain was behind the visitor’s dugout on the baseball field. Still, they could not get water. Bill Arnold passed out from heat exhaustion at UNC during football practice and that is when water breaks started to happen in high schools.
Bill Arnold played for Woodberry Forest School in Orange, Va. and I had the chance to play against him when I was at Randolph-Macon Academy. We had the lead at halftime but we had lost our QB in the second quarter. They were our nemesis and Bill led them to victory. He ran over me a few times but he was 6″1 and 220 lbs. and the next great UNC back.
One thing that can prevent heat stroke is make sure athletes eat as late as possible. The cells will contain body fluids longer that way but do not deprive them of their water break every 15 minutes and take their helmets off when they condition. The NCHSAA has guidelines for you to follow if you are a rookie coach. Grapes. apples and oranges have fluid too. Watch for them swaying and passing out is another way to tell that they have heat exhaustion. Be careful and I know you will because we have good coaches in all sports in Beaufort County who care for their kids!
They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!