Teen's death has coaches watching heat closely

State rules for high school football help athletes adjust to heat, coach says

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - After a south Florida teen died after football camp practice in Camp Blanding, other local high school coaches have taken notice.

They're saying it's a reminder of how important it is to watch their players closely in these hot months.

It's all about hydration for Clay High School. The coach there told News4Jax that state regulations about summer practices have become more stringent in recent years.

Coach Josh Hoekstra's team was practicing at Clay High School just miles away from Camp Blanding on Wednesday. That was where a 14-year-old Sebastian River High School football player got sick during football camp. He was taken to the hospital and died there.

Hoekstra said when they were practicing it was hot, but the heat was mixed with thunderstorms.

"We came out here (Wednesday) and it was pretty warm for about 30 minutes," Hoekstra said. "It wasn't too bad."

The state has implemented rules about summer practices because of cases like what happened with the south Florida teen.

"With the state rules, the first so many days you're only allowed helmet and then shoulder pads," Hoeskstra said. "Then day six you're allowed to go full pads, so I think that's been good for us the last couple years. That's just an FHSAA rule that they incorporated a couple years ago, (because of) the heat."

Players said the coaches make them well aware to stay hydrated and let trainers know if they're ever having a problem.

"Every time you tell kids you're feeling light headed, you got a trainer right here, go tell him," said football player Sean Grayer. "You've got to stay hydrated."

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