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|Doctor: Athletes need fluids in body at all times|
Since the early days of high school football practices in August, its been a tradition which meant no water breaks for the suffering athletes who slugged at each other through thick and through thin, day after sweltering day.
Now, though, things are different. Water breaks are mandatory on most teams, and some teams have just begun to make sure their players get water breaks whenever they need one.
The Louisiana State High School Athletic Association, the governing body of Louisiana high school sports, have mandated water breaks in the games. At least once every quarter. Most high school coaches allow more breaks. In fact, a current trend.
"They can get water any time they want to now," said West Monroe coach Don Shows. "We trust them to do this. But when you look at it, most players aren't out on the field all that long."
Shows can remember back in the 1950's and 1960's when the players didn't get any water. They were told to take salt tablets instead.
"We have water bottles and water stations all over the practice field," Shows said. He likes water best because "It gets in the system quicker than anything else."
St. Frederick coach Paul Guerriero agrees.
"We trust our athletes to get water when they are thirsty," Guerriero said. "So we tell them to go get it. We keep water at different stations. We keep preaching to keep hydrated during the whole week."
A local doctor advises the same way the coaches do, to avoid being dehydrated and drink as much liquids as you can.
"You need to try to stay hydrated," said Dr. David Yarbrough. "You need to avoid becoming fatigued and having cramps. Heat exhaustion is the first phase of it, the more serious phase is heat stroke. Watch for nausea, dizziness. The body tries to cool itself down. The main thing to do is get the victim to the hospital emergency room as quickly as possible."
Dr. Yarbrough said the main thing to do is quickly get the person cooler. Ice packets can be used if necessary.