WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

Fla. Lawmakers File Heat Stroke Bill

It's a penalty that all too often goes unnoticed, but when young athletes don't give their bodies a chance to cool down from the heat of play the price can be painful.

Just ask Jada Morgan, a high school track runner who three years ago came off a 400-meter dash and almost collapsed.

"I was cramping, and my dad was over there with me, and I started feeling sick," she said. "I was like, 'oh man, I think I have to throw up'. I walked out to the side and I was falling over. He caught me, and they iced me down and everything."

Jada lived to tell about it, but some kids don't. That's why new legislation's been filed in Tallahassee.

There's a growing feeling Florida's schools are on the losing end of the ongoing battle against heat stroke, and now a blocking technique may be the audible lawmakers have to call.

Under the bill, youth athletic coaches would be required to pull players out of the game if they show any indication of heat stroke, and they wouldn't be allowed to go back in without the approval of a doctor.

The goal is to get overheated players cooled down before they go into shock, which athletic trainer Alan Morales says could mean the difference between life and death.

"We've found, with heat-related illnesses, the quicker you cool the body down, the more better their recovery's going to be and the less likely they're going to have some tissue damage or cell damage from dehydration," Morales said.

But he admits heat stroke can be difficult to spot until it's too late.

That's why a new law may not do nearly as much as an athlete's own good judgment.

"Always push yourself, but know your limits," Morales said.

A different kind of time out that could help save lives.

The proposed bill would also require the parents of young athletes to sign a release form stating they're aware of the serious consequences of heat stroke.


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