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Area schools work to combat heat-related illness in student-athletes

Posted at 10:26 AM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 11:26:38-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It was just two weeks ago when Omaha South football player Drake Geiger collapsed during practice and later died of heatstroke at an area hospital.

RELATED: “No kid deserves to lose their life going to a sport,” Drake Geiger's family calls for change

With the current heat and humidity streak this week, we wanted to see how local football coaches have tailored their practice.

According to a heat index chart fact sheet from the Nebraska State Athletic Association (NSAA), practicing during heat index temperatures of 125 degrees Fahrenheit or higher carries a high risk of heatstroke and the NSAA recommends no practice.

Roncalli head coach Tom Kassing said they have found ways to make sure their players are staying safe during practice.

"With the guidelines from the NSAA, we give them water every 15 minutes with a five-minute break in between. So it's difficult to get any momentum in practice because we're constantly giving them water breaks. But that's for the safety of the kids," said Kassing.

From 1995 to 2020, 51 high school football players in the United States died from heatstroke during football-related activity, according to the University of North Carolina's National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. There were three deaths attributed to heatstroke in 2020.

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