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Coaches, trainers to keep close eye on players during first days of drills

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
August 5, 2001
Meridian High School's football team will hit the field Monday for the start of fall practice. This year the WIldcats will likely be a little cautious and well aware of the heat.
Two heat-related deaths this summer involving a University of Florida football player and a Minnesota Vikings lineman have the football world on edge. Both incidences occurred when the players apparently pushed themselves too far in opening practice sessions.
Last week, A determined Korey Stringer, Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman, pushed through preseason drills and it cost him his life. He continued to press after repeatedly vomiting during conditioning drills and never asked for medical assistance. By the time he finally asked for help, it was too late and he died of a heat stroke.
Sartin said his staff has met since the tragedy and plan to take extra measures to assure the safety of the players.
Meridian Community College athletic trainer, Sander Atkinson, said there are signs to look for. He said if a player is dizzy or disoriented, that is the first sign. If the player ever vomits or stops sweating it is an emergency, he said.
Atkinson also said that a player should try and get in reasonable shape prior to the first workouts of the season. He also said that coaches should realize that the kids may not be in the best of shape and shouldn't "over do it" in the beginning.
Sartin said that his players have gone through a vigorous off season conditioning program that should prepare the players for the practices. He also said special consideration will be taken in light of the recent tragedies.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228 or E-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridian star.com.

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