Local Lawmaker Aims To Help Public High Schools Prevent Heat Stroke In Student Athletes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hot weather and sports can lead to a harmful mix of heat related issues, ranging from mild to life-threatening.

Now, New Jersey is taking preventative steps.

With the start of school around the corner, a major issue is being able to beat the heat.

“I bring a gallon of water with me and pour it on my head,” 12-year-old Falbert Rodriguez tells CBS2’s Steve Overmyer. “That’s how I stay cool.”

On a scale of one to ten, coach Manny Peralta says people’s concerns should be at a ten.

“Heat exhaustion should lead to death, and it has lead to death,” Peralta said. “It could happen to professional athletes. It could happen to a little old lady walking down the street.”

Just last month, a high school football player in Florida died of a heat stroke on the field.

Later, it was discovered his body temperature was over 107 degrees for more than an hour. In the Garden State, reducing the risk can soon come in one pocket-sized solution.

“What this is measuring is ambient air temperature, wind speed, and solar radiation,” Red Bank High School trainer Christina Emrich said Wednesday.

The device is the tool trainers use to accurately record when internal temperatures get in the danger zone. Anything above 85 on the heat stress indicator requires some form of practice modification.

“Right at the field you have that reading and you can go to your coaches and say guys, we need to end practice now,” Emrich said.

It’s recommended that for every hour of activity, kids need an hour of rest. Staying hydrated means drinking half a gallon of water each hour of hard activity.

“He plays basketball and I have to be on him,” parent Janet Lopez said. “I make sure he has three bottles for practice, between field switches he has to drink, even if he tells me he’s not thirsty.”

Janet’s son, David, says he has no problem with it since he feels like it helps him play baseball better.

Staying cool in excessive heat is not that easy. That’s why a New Jersey state senator is doing more than just trying to raise awareness of heat stroke.

“The press conference today convinced me maybe we should mandate this,” Senator Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-18th) said. “We’re talking less than 500 school districts, that’s about $200,000. In the state of New Jersey that’s nothing.”

Professional and collegiate teams already use the heat index device.

Senator Diegnan Jr. is drafting a bill to give one to every New Jersey public school.

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