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South Alabama Jags staying cool under pressure

(WPMI) South Alabama Jags staying cool under pressure
(WPMI) South Alabama Jags staying cool under pressure

With just over two weeks left until the college football season starts the Jaguars are adding the battle against the heat to their preparation plans.

NBC 15's Colin Cahill learned that with temperatures as high as they are the Jags are finding ways to stay cool under pressure.

On days when the Jags aren’t under the shade of the covered training facility, they use another form of preventive service: an athletic trainer.

“A lot of times we have up to 8 to 9 athletic trainers just at football practice,” said Head Football Athletic Trainer Chad Stefano.

Stefano and his team of South Alabama athletic trainers are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting players in the Mobile heat.

More than a dozen medical personnel ranging from Athletic Trainers to EMS responders cover the field as the Jaguar football team practices in its fall camp.

Stefano credits the communication with the coaching staff as being one of the best ways to keep the players safe.

“On days like today, when we know it’s going to be hot, we build in extra breaks at the beginning of practice. Then another team break about halfway or three quarters into practice based off the temp to cool these guys off the best we can,” said Stefano.

Jags head football coach Steve Campbell stresses the importance of staying hydrated all throughout practice. He also knows the competitive edge the Jags will have by training on hot days like Monday.

“It’s hot a lot of places in the country. We always tell our guys that it shouldn’t be hotter anywhere else. It may be hotter in Arizona, but they have no humidity. We’re going to be outside so we need to practice outside anytime that we get the chance,” Coach Campbell said.

Stefano stresses the importance of hydration, but it goes further than that for this medical team.

“Obviously we want them drinking, the water, the Powerade, but we have ice towels for the break and through practice time. You know, it’s not just about the fluid intake. We gotta get some carbs to get them through practice,” Stefano said.

As for the Jag football players, the humid August heat is another test to make them better on the football field.

“We’re playing in 108 degrees," said defensive lineman Tyree Turner. "We know that will be the hottest we get played in, so we try to make practice harder than the games.”

“We’re not worried about the elements. All we worry about is the football field. It’s going to be 100 yards wherever we go,” said defensive back Jalen Thompson.