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USF studying heat, hydration habits of prep football players during preseason training

Posted: 9:50 PM, Jul 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-31 23:19:44-04
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TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida is teaming up with local high school athletes to track heat and hydration during preseason football practices.

“The first few days, the first week, you feel hot, you’re feeling tired, get fatigued," said senior Zach Perkins, an offensive lineman for Berkeley Preparatory School Buccaneers.

Perkins is one of 32 student athletes participating in a heat impact study, conducted by Dr. Rebecca Lopez with USF.

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"It's so hot outside and humid," said Lopez. "It's really important to see what’s happening to their bodies physically.”

Each player is required to ingest a capsule four to five hours before practice everyday for 10 days. It helps researchers monitor body temperature, heart rate, sweat rate, fluid consumption, hydration and perceptual measures (how they feel).

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The results of this project will be used to improve current heat policies for high school athletes and reduce the risk of heat-related illness. The results can be used by athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals to modify existing heat safety policies at the state association level.

“If we mandate more heat-safety policies in the state of Florida we’re all going to be safer, especially when it comes to the summer, off-season conditioning practices where there might not be athletic training staff on site," said Lopez.