With sizzling hot temperatures rolling into the early days of September, the Marist College Football team continues to be challenged by the scorching heat and high humidity. The team confesses that this late August’s preseason was their hardest yet, from the intensity of their practices, to the unbearable, sleepless nights in Champagnat Hall. But due to climate change, there has been a culture change taking over college football, this especially hot season. The sport’s tradition of having multiple practices a day for conditioning purposes, is becoming a questionable practice.
According to the NCAA, recent years have marked an increase in player injury and death due to heat-related causes, and as a result, “two-a-day” practices are becoming an antiquated ideal for collegiate football teams. To address heat concerns, in 2003 the NCAA prohibited two-a-days on consecutive days and during the first five days of practice. But despite this fact, this year members of Marist’s team experienced first-hand some of the dangerous effects of multiple practices a day in the grueling heat.
Senior Tight End Nick Wynne felt that during preseason, even off the field, he couldn’t escape the heat wave, “I really dreaded two-a-days during camp [preseason], especially since after we would finish the second practice, we were forced to spend the night in a humid dorm room with zero air conditioning. I woke up every morning dripping sweat, feeling sluggish and seriously dehydrated.” Wynne hopes with the new dorms in place, the team will be able to cool down in a more comfortable facility. But due to the weather conditions, some players, like Senior Wide Receiver Joey Jordan, ran into some serious trouble on the field, “ We were doing drills in 90 plus degree heat and all of a sudden I started to feel extremely light-headed, but I continued because I just wanted to push through it. I ended up passing out from dehydration, and had to be put on IV fluids.”
With the increasing temperatures every year, coaches understand that more safeguards need to be put in place. Head Athletic Trainer Jeffrey Carter explained that in the State of New York, there are certain protocols for exceptionally hot temperatures, “ In New York state, 98 degrees is a limited practice with the players only wearing helmets and consistent water breaks every 20 minutes or so. Anything over 98 degrees is no practice. That is when players are at serious risk of heat injury or illness.” Marist Alum and Tight End coach Matthew Poveromo stressed how crucial it is to constantly stay hydrated during the season, “ The team usually knows without us telling them, but we make sure they stock up on cases of Gatorade and salt pills.” Junior Linebacker Connor Kamczyc’s shared that his drink of choice is Pedialyte, an electrolyte drink for children.
The Marist Football team is hopeful they will see an improvement in their performance and less injury once the heat is behind them. But with the trend of temperatures reaching record highs annually, there is a greater concern as to if college football teams should phase out two-a-day practices. Luckily, temperatures are supposed to cool down this weekend when the team travels to Sacred Heart University for their third game of the season.