ELKINS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Heat exhaustion is becoming a real concern in Northwest Arkansas, especially for those who are athletes.
The Elkins Athletic Department has a very busy week ahead of them as the football players are back for the off-season, and they’re also hosting a kids camp.
To ensure the safety of the players and staff, Steven Fein, the athletic director for Elkins School District, says they continue to follow the Arkansas Athletic Association.
Fein says they do their best to try to beat the heat, as they monitor the weather with a “wet bulb,” which is used to keep tabs on the heat index.
“If it’s over a certain percentage, we have to take a 10-minute break if it’s over a certain number, we take a 20-minute break every hour,” Fein said.
While practicing outside, hydration is a key factor in this type of heat, as the coaches do their best to keep a close eye on each player.
“There are five water stations that are out here spaced around that they can go get water anytime,” Fein said.
Laurel Shepherd, the education director for Kendrick Fincher Hydration for Life, is also a big advocate for hydration, as she continues to educate the community about its importance.
“Our body needs water and especially with young kids are at a greater risk of dehydration,” Laurel said.
Shepherd heads a foundation dedicated to keeping athletes safe in the heat. It is named after Kendrick Fincher who died of a heat stroke he suffered during summer practice.
A grant has allowed the foundation to buy cooling tubs for some local high schools.
“Those cooling tubs are really life saving, so they have them on the sidelines, so if an athlete does experience a heat stroke, they can be rapidly cooled before being transported,” Shepherd said.
Fein says the water stations, the break times, and tubs all serve to prove that safety is their number one concern.