Lubbock is experiencing the hottest summer on record this year, and high school athletes are bracing for triple-digit temperatures as they begin two-a-day football practice.
The Lubbock Cooper Pirates football team starts practice from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. then they return from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Two-a-days mark of the beginning of the new season, but this year athletes across the state are facing a similar opponent, heat.
"Between practices we preach to them they need to go home and re-hydrate, eat well, get some rest and get out of the sun. Our kids are pretty good about it," said Head Lubbock-Cooper Football Coach, John Windham.
Doctors say heat related illness is the third leading cause of death for high school athletes.
"Football especially, you are going to have a lot of contact and muscle activity," said University Medical Center ER Director, Dr. Joe Sasin.
Sasin wants to remind players to recognize heat related illness symptoms, like muscle cramps and weakness, which are similar to football injuries.
"The little minor head bumps and injuries that occur can sometimes make the athlete not aware and a little bit confused. They might not know the headache was not from the last hit, it's from heat related illness," said Sasin.
That's why the Lubbock Cooper pirates have trainers and coaches keeping a close eye on their players.
"They are looking for anybody that looks like they are going to faint or pass out, or anyone who just looks hot, sweating profusely and getting sick on the sideline," said Head Lubbock Cooper trainer, Sara Cayton.
To prevent heat illness, Lubbock Cooper provides lots of water, breaks, ice and cooling tubs.
Even though the pirates wear their school colors, black and red to practice, they say breathable material helps to keep the players cool.
"You just have to be smart about it and use your judgment," said Windham.
When you think about football, you can't forget about the marching band. They too started practicing in the hot weather Monday. To keep cool, each person brings a jug of water to stay hydrated.
Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.