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Bixby coach keeping student-athletes safe in summer heat

Posted at 1:56 PM, Jul 19, 2022

BIXBY, Okla. — There are a lot of people who have to work in this heat… and even some student-athletes are in summer practices ahead of the school year.

Bixby Middle and High School cross country runners start their practice in the mornings before the heat moves in. Assistant Coach Madison Eckert says this also prepares them for what’s to come next month when they begin afternoon practices.

“We are trying to acclimate them right now that way by the time school gets here, maybe they won’t feel it as much," Eckert says.

She says they take extra precautions to make sure student-athletes are safe, starting with a new practice location — Bentley Park.

“Typically, we are over at the school site, but there’s hardly any shade so we felt like this would be a good mixture of shade and sun for the kids," Eckert says. "When we are out at school it's brutal.”

Eckert says she discusses other ways to stay safe in this heat with her athletes.

“Clothing that would make us feel better in this heat. And not only hydrating at practice but before and when we leave here is important as well.”

Eckert also says in this heat she has to keep a closer eye on the older kids.

“We do have to be careful with our older kids. Maybe it’s the work ethic part of it but our older kids work extremely hard all the time. They are fighting for varsity spots.”

She also says at the end of the day, when it comes to keeping students safe while practicing in the heat, communication is key.

“One thing being a coach is that you just have to make sure you are looking for those signs of heat exhaustion and making sure your athletes look healthy and just having conversations with them. If a kid is sitting out is it because they are being silly or because they don’t feel good."

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