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Beat the heat: High School athletes hydrate up as season rolls on

“It was very worrisome when the weather just dramatically changes on you like that."

DES MOINES, Iowa — As temperatures soar in central Iowa, the message stays the same for high school athletes.

“Stay hydrated,” said Eder Gasca, a freshmen soccer player for Roosevelt High School in Des Moines.  

When it comes to putting an emphasis on hydrating before during and after practices, athletic trainers are front and center. 

“I don't think you can overemphasize it,” said Samantha Pohlmeier.

Pohlmeier has been an athletic trainer for Roosevelt High School for several years now, and with a week like this with temps rising into the 90s, the job demands a lot.

“The day after is like super important to be hydrating,” she said.

For most of the spring, this season's athletes have been in the stay warm mode.

“It was very worrisome when the weather just dramatically changes on you like that,” Pohlmeier said. 

Preparation comes in many forms, and the bulk of the work is reliant on athletes.

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“I always advocate for eating fruits and vegetables, foods that contain water in them already eating foods that have salt in them is like your good complex carbohydrates."

If athletes aren’t properly hydrated things can go south.

“So, everybody thinks of our traditional muscle cramps, right? Your exertional heat muscle cramps. So that can happen, as well as syncope which is fainting from the heat and then you're getting into your more serious exertional heat illness and exertional heat stroke,” Pohlmeier said.

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When the temps rise as fast as what they have this week, athletic trainers usually like to climatize the athletes by having them out in the elements for a certain period.

"That’s a seven to fourteen-day process, so we did not get that opportunity because we live in Iowa,” said Pohlmeier.

So, what do teams do when the temps start climbing?

"With the heat it's a little bit different, where might think about doing activities that involve less movement or less strenuous movement,” said Matt Ream, the head soccer coach for Roosevelt High school.

"We're playing horseshoes, having a little fun, kind of a recovery session. Nothing too much it's really hot, so got to stay hydrated and not get too tired,” Gasca said.

"If you don't hydrate enough you start to feel that your body gets a lot heavier, like yesterday I didn't drink enough water before practice and I definitely felt it,” said Abel Kennedy.  

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