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Things are heating up on the football field.
Not only because high school and college teams of the area are beginning to prepare for the season, but they are about to experience some of the hottest temperatures of the year.
The Starkville Academy Volunteers have already had to deal with it, having been working since last Monday, but the Starkville Yellowjackets and the other public schools of the area get on the field this Monday and the Mississippi State Bulldogs have their first practice on Thursday.
The long-range weather forecast indicate that temperatures are expected to top out around 97 and 98 degrees during the midweek and that will send the heat index well over the 100-degree mark. That's a potentially dangerous situation for anyone spending a long amount of time outside.
Just last week my family went to a local water theme park for a last bit of summer fun before school starts, and I witnessed a young man become sick because of the heat.
It's important for the coaches to be smart when putting their teams through practices in these conditions.
It doesn't seem like a preseason goes by anymore without hearing about a team somewhere across the country having heat-related problems, including an occasional death.
The high school season starts on August 19 so squads have no choice than to put their players out in the heat and humidity. It appears the coaches are trying not to work in the hottest part of the day.
On the days Starkville Academy works a two-a-day schedule, coach Jeff Terrill gets the Vols on the field at around 7 a.m. for the first practice, then waits until 6 p.m. for the second. That seems to be the ideal way to handle it and should leave plenty of time to get things accomplished.
Not only do coaches have to concentrate on teaching the players how to go about preparing for the season, but they have to identify those who are having an issue with the weather.
Whether the situation seems minor or serious, it must be taken with precaution.
Since the season is only weeks away, fans must also consider the temperature as they attend to early games.
While getting emotionally involved in a game, it will be difficult to recognize what the heat is doing to a body. Stay hydrated and try not to get too worked up, no matter what's happening on the field.
It's going to be another exciting season, but make sure you are around to enjoy it.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.View more articles in: