As the summer heat beats down over the football field, student athletes at Cypress Lake High School are training.
“Really, it’s just about refreshing our knowledge and continuing to be safe with these guys like we do every year,” Coach Richard Rode said.
The refresher is now a requirement. The Florida High School Athletic Association is mandating student athletes and coaches to watch heat stroke training and prevention videos as of July 1.
The online course is a requirement after a student athlete died from heat in 2017.
“I never expected anything like what happened,” CJ Shedd, a Class of 2020 student, said.
Players here at Cypress Lake High School have lost friends.
“It was tough,” Shedd said. “I’ve never lost somebody before. I was young. And I just remember he was always like upbeat, so it’s kind of crazy to think about him not being there ever again. It was tough for a kid my age.”
The incidents have been widespread.
123 high school football players died of heat illnesses between 1960 and 2009, according to a study by the University of Georgia.
“It’s about water and hydration and making sure we have cold tubs and those types of things available,” Rode said.
Precaution is necessary, especially in Florida.
“We watch after these kids and we’re around them so much and these parents place them in our care. And so it’s up to us to make sure we are proactive in these things,” Rode said.