August 10, 2011

    For Immediate Release

    Contact: Tamerah Ringo/Communications & PR

    PH: 214.496.6058

    Just before the last break of the morning workout, at 11:15 a.m., the heat index at the Cowboy High School Stadium (on Buddy Echols Field) was 97 degrees.  There was a slight breeze on Wednesday, August 10.  Fewer parents were on the sidelines watching but there was no shortage of coaches, trainers, and the student trainers (all 26 of them!) were in full force!  Even the superintendent was present.  Having dedicated the first half of his day to outside practices for band and outdoor athletics, Dr. Jeff Turner was not there to prove he could “take it,” rather to reinforce the value Coppell ISD places on the health and wellbeing of each and every student and the importance of being consistent in how we are educating students, staff, parents, and our community about heat and heat-related issues.


    According to Dr. Turner, “It’s always hot in August, but the temperature extremes over the past six weeks or so have been brutal. Our coaches, directors, and trainers are doing an outstanding job of helping the students acclimate but we are also counting on our parents to help during the time when kids are not participating in our supervised workouts.  We must all be diligent when protecting our children by making sure they:


    ·         Hydrate before, during,  and after practices (avoid sodas and tea)

    ·         Have healthy snacks for practice breaks (peanut butter sandwiches, power bars, etc.)

    ·         Have healthy food options at meal times including lots of protein (no skipping meals)

    ·         Get plenty of rest & a good night’s sleep

    ·         Listen to what their body is telling them and get help if feeling distressed


    Coppell High School athletic trainer Yvette Carson said, “Our kids are doing great!  It’s hot but we’ve been fortunate and the intermittent breezes have helped. We’ve already gone through over 300 gallons of Gatorade and over 4,000 pounds of ice during each of the first two days of practice.”


    This year, depending on the activity, students are:


    1)      Working out earlier and on a shortened schedule

    2)      Given open access to water (band students have their own camelbacks in addition to use of a health station equipped w/ice towels, water, an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), etc.) 

    3)      Provided unlimited ice towels during “big breaks”

    4)      Being closely monitored for changes in water and food intake and extreme weight loss


    Carson says she and fellow trainer Barry Jones do rely on current technologies to help them do their jobs including use of the Digital Sling Psychrometer  (handheld device that provides a heat index readout), well as the Weatherbug Alert system (sends weather alerts by text message) for issues including heat, lightening, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and winter advisories.  They also won’t hesitate to call parents and share important health observations related to their child.   Carson insists there’s no substitute for good communication and for knowing the kids.  She says they do still rely on a few “old school” solutions such as the ice pool (located in the end zone) because in an emergency situation, “an ice bath is still the fastest way to cool down the core.”  


    Outdoor workouts will continue in the district with the school year set to begin on Monday, August 22.  Talk to your child’s coach, director or athletic trainer to learn about specific ways they are proactively addressing the subject of heat with their students and what you can do to help.