MSU Helps Sports Campers Beat the Heat
Practice makes perfect, but that can be tough if that practice is outside in this recent heat wave.
For many sports camps at Michigan State University, that's exactly what high school athletes are doing this week.
"We drink as much water as we can so we don't cramp up," said 15-year-old football camper Connor Swanger. "Because if you cramp up out there, it's not going to be that much fun. And that's when everything starts going down hill from there."
After at least six hours of intense football drills, the players retreat to their nearby residence halls. But those don't offer much relief unless you know the unwritten rule: bring a fan.
"We brought like four or five fans, so everything is circulating, but if we didn't have those, it would be very uncomfortable in the rooms," Connor said.
Athletic trainers monitor the heat index during the camps using a special device that measures relative humidity and temperature. In the indoor practice facility, it read bout 43 percent humidity and 89 degrees. The dorm was worse; it was over 90 degrees and 50 percent humidity.
"If the formula for temperature and humidity is over 105 degrees, all activity has to be cancelled, because it's just too much of a risk of heat illness," said Athletic Trainer and Camp Director Kendall Stewart.
When the formula hits about 95 degrees, trainers recommend taking water breaks every 20 minutes and having water easily accessible.
These conditions are part of the reason why the trainers are staying in the dorms as well. They even carry an emergency electrolyte powder, just in case.
"I can mix that in in about 10 seconds into a water bottle, have them drink the whole thing, and get them hydrated again," Stewart said.
Fortunately, he hasn't had to use it yet. Trainers and coaches say the athletes are used to the weather, because most of them have played their whole life.
Several coaches said the campers are in good spirits, but they are monitoring them closely, especially when they practice in full equipment.
There have only been a few cases of campers feeling dizzy, but they recovered quickly.