Dangerous heat is forcing Tampa Bay summer camps and sports teams to be on high alert. Earlier this week, a Florida high school football player died of heat stroke. It's a scary reminder of how deadly Florida's heat and humidity can be for kids playing sports.
St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation summer camp leaders can’t say it enough, “Kids! Drink more water! Don’t pass out! It’s hot out here,” one counselor yelled out to middle schoolers at Boyd Hill Nature Park.
With temperatures in the mid 90s, high humidity, and 500 middle schoolers to keep tabs on, the counselors are always on the look out for the first signs of heat stroke.
“If they’re looking too red, if they seem a little sluggish, we pull them aside and encourage water, rest and shade,” Katie Brew, the safety and training officer for the Parks and Rec Department explained.
Brew is leading up dozens of urgent safety meetings to warn her team to be extra careful.
“We live in Florida so many days we spend more time outside than inside so it’s important to know the signs of heat illness and heat exhaustion,” Brew added.
This week, youth leaders got a scary reminder of how important that is, after a Fort Myers area high school football player was rushed to the hospital and died of heat stroke. Zach Polsenberg’s temperature spiked at 107 degrees!
Pediatrician Sally Smith says it’s not a matter of if but when your child will get heat exhaustion. “It’s hard to give your child too much fluid in the Florida heat,” she explained.
Sometimes hydrating isn’t enough, and often, the signs of heat stroke are subtle like muscle cramps, headaches and nausea.
If your child stops sweating or gets goosebumps, get them inside immediately!
Middle schooler Valerie Ray already had one close call this summer, “I felt dizzy, I felt faint. But I started drinking water and then I felt better.”
Pedestrians also recommend talking to your child’s coach about how often the kids take a break. The best rule of thumb: stop to drink 8 ounces of water, every 15 minutes.