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'Your body can shut down' | How to play sports safely the summer heat

On Thursday, the China Spring Cougars played a best-of-three series against Taylor to fight for a spot in the state tournament. But, the 90 degree heat hit hard.

WACO, Texas — The Texas heat is already starting to settle in, and it can be brutal for anyone, especially student athletes.

They have no choice but to train in the heat and they need to make sure they take care of their bodies both on and off the field.

On Thursday, the China Spring Cougars faced a battle in the heat on the diamond where triple digits are soon on the way.

"It's different when I first started," Cory Beckham, China Spring head baseball coach, said. "Back then you just told kids to tough it out. You can't do that now."

Sports Medicine physician at Baylor Scott and White, Laura Irvin, says athletes need to make sure they prepare their bodies for these elements.

"Usually the good rule is an hour," Irvin said. "If someone is going to be working out or will be outdoors for an hour or more and losing that sweat, they are going to be losing those electrolytes that they need to replace."

On Thursday at Baylor Ballpark, the Cougars played a best-of-three series against Taylor to fight for a spot in the state tournament.

They didn't play just for one hour, though, but instead and entire day.

"I talked to the players [Thursday] about having enough food in their system to have enough energy to play at their top level," Beckham said. "You can have cramps, you can have heat exhaustion, your body can shut down. But, it's just about taking care of your players as well."

With a trainer on deck, Beckham knows his players are in good hands.

"He's at the dugout during the games and he's at practices," Beckham said. "The state of Texas does put all the educators through training with CPR, heat exhaustion, all of it. But we're still not 100% as much as a trainer or physician."

Beckham says there's definitely a level each athlete has to find between drinking enough water and over-hydrating your body.

One Cougar maybe got a little too carried away with water, Beckham said. They ended up puking on the mound to striking out the side.

"He threw it to the catcher and it was a ball. He turned around immediately, bent over and threw up," Beckham said. "So, we ran out there to try to help him and he was like 'I'm fine. I'm fine. I can do this.' He didn't want me to take him out of the game."

First, he puked.

"I think some people were like 'oh gross.' You could hear the crowd go 'oh my gosh,'" Beckham said.

Then, he rallied.

"He's got a ton of talent and even when he's not on his A game pitching, we know we're going to get a competitor out there," Beckham said. "He just keeps grinding."

Even in the heat, he still throws it, sending the Cougars to their second straight state tournament.

China Spring will either play at 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Wednesday and to make sure they get acclimated to the heat, Beckham has scheduled Monday and Tuesday practices to be at the same time. 

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