Published 3:45 pm Friday, August 22, 2008
Tragedy hits Flomaton
By Chandler Myers
Last Friday a tragic event took place that changes the lives of several people.
Former Flomaton High School student and football player Sam Collins died of a heat stroke brought on by malignant hyperthermia while practicing with his new team the Huntingdon Hawks.
Collins was a freshman just in his second day of practices with the Hawks and looking forward to pursuing his education in dentistry.
It is always a sad day when a young person is lost and leaves behind family and friends wondering why the unthinkable could happen.
Condolences go out to his family, friends, coaches and teammates at Flomaton and Huntingdon, I am truly sorry for your loss.
In speaking with his mother, it seems as if she is being as strong as possible and knows that the coaches and doctors did everything they could for her son and I applaud her for that.
Normally, on the news you will see some finger pointing and that is never good for either side, but in this circumstance everyone is coming together.
Battling the heat in pads day in and day out in pads and helmets has to be difficult to do and even with constant fluids it is probably tough to keep remotely cool.
It happens every year that someone is hospitalized or dies from heat exhaustion in football practices across the country, but still it is seen that coaches every where are doing their best to keep their players hydrated and conditioned.
Some people question why the players just do not immediately jump into pads for practices and this is the reason.
Conditioning all summer and practicing in pads for three days is one of the smartest ideas to ever come out of football.
Heck, why not do it for a full five days of practice just to ensure your players are conditioned enough?
As time goes by, things will start to change and technology will improve and this could mean several things.
New devices could be added to helmets or pads that could keep them cooler.
Athletic programs across the country including high schools could become required to have mist tents where players can cool down and get hydrated while on breaks.
The point is that things will get better and as seasons roll on less and less players could fall victim to heat related illnesses.
As long as coaches continue taking into consideration the heat and the strain that running around in full equipment causes, it should only get better.
Parents can also help their children avoid succumbing to the heat by ensuring that they receive plenty of fluids before stepping on a practice field.
Buy them a six-pack of 32 oz. Gatorades on the way to practice or make them drink one before they leave the house, just to know they have some kind of hydration running through their body.
Coaches watch your players and make sure you remember to give them those regular water breaks and after they have that break get them back on the field and go at it.
Again my thoughts and prayers are with the Collins family and I am sorry for your loss. I am sure Sam was a great guy.
Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org