Athletic Department undeterred by heatwave

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Photo by Marcel Hurtubise - Reporter

Kingsmen Football continued to train under the blazing sun.

Marcel Hurtubise, Reporter

The heatwave in early September of 2022 was one of the worst in California’s history with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. However, being a part of California Lutheran University athletics meant there was no way to escape the heat, and teams had to find a way to adapt to continue training. Fortunately, the athletes, athletic trainers and coaches were not deterred. 

“Because we’re very proactive and we knew it was coming and we knew what the heat can do to our athletes, especially the ones that are outdoors, we made sure we were prepared,” Head Athletic Trainer Cody Owens said. “We had Gatorade and lots of water at all of the practices. We had our ice baths ready to go…  we had our coaches informed.”

Head Athletic Performance Coach Brent Roling works closely with athletes to make sure they perform at their best. 

“The biggest thing that I’ve learned is making sure we have resources and education for athletes in terms of how to take care of themselves,” Roling said.

The players themselves were determined not to let the heat hold them back.

“I thought the players responded great. We try not to make it an issue,” said Head Football Coach Anthony Lugo. “One thing that our training staff does a great job of, is reminding our players and pushing our players to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.”

During the first football game in Texas, the football team and athletic trainers prepared as if they were in a heatwave. Having been given numerous water breaks and having the trainers closely monitor players, the team did not experience any side effects from the heat.

“The guys didn’t let it affect them. We didn’t have to hold anything back during practice,” said Lugo.

Prior to their first workout of the day, a readiness survey was sent out by Roling to keep track of athletes’ recovery and readiness to perform. Roling said although the heatwave was a factor they had to deal with, they have had better overall results this year as compared to last year.

“The biggest impact its had is just making sure that we are paying attention to readiness survey data and making sure everyone is fueling properly,” Roling said.

The Forrest Fitness Center launched a campaign of two free snacks a day for student-athletes to rehydrate or refuel before practices. This, too, was instrumental in aiding the athletes during the heatwave. 

“If you have a really hard practice and you need some electrolytes back in…well, we have it here and it’s hugely important to drink a chocolate milk or something like that after a practice because it is going to replenish so much of what you just lost,” Owen said.

Lugo and the football team especially appreciated the implementation of the snacks.

“It’s been awesome. These guys absolutely love it. It makes sure that they’re eating something before workouts or after workouts. It’s been a great addition to our programs,” Lugo said.

As climate change threatens to make heat waves a more common occurrence, Roling is confident that Cal Lutheran’s Athletic Department will be able to handle them in the future. 

“If we’re talking about climate shift and climate change, it’s definitely something we have to consider, especially for our outdoor fall sports,” Roling said. “I’d have to credit the athletic training staff more with taking care of that. And the sport’s coaches do really well about planning and making sure that they’re not putting anyone in danger.”