Taking precautions in the heat
The Navy football team began its first full week of practice today in the sweltering heat and humidity, making sure to take frequent water breaks and catch some rest with their helmets removed.
Conditions are supposed become even more oppressive over the next several days, and while the training staff will be monitoring players closely to guard against major heat-related issues, sometimes cramping and other ailments associated with the searing weather are unavoidable.
Coach Ken Niumatalolo told his players after this morning's practice to make sure they stay hydrated, and during the two-hour long workout, players were taking full advantage of the many water stations around the practice field.
"Like I told the team, when it's hot, it's not like we can put a dome over it and turn on the air conditioning," Niumatalolo said.
Niumatalolo also has moved several practices this week to the morning. Originally, practices today, tomorrow and Thursday were scheduled for 4 p.m. Now they will begin at 9 a.m. and last roughly two hours, although on Wednesday and Friday there will be practices in the morning and afternoon. Another small blessing for the players is that Navy's practice field is right off the Chesapeake Bay, which occasionally sends cooling breezes their way.
The sweltering conditions can be especially difficult on some of the linemen, who are carrying more weight than the rest of the their teammates. Bigger players can be more susceptible to heat-related injury and have to be particularly vigilant to ensure against heat exhaustion or potentially fatal heat stroke.
Or you can take the position of senior right tackle Matt Molloy, who grew up Berlin, Md., and has grown rather accustomed to the steamy August weather in these parts.
"You just can't feel bad about yourself. There's 120 teams in the this country doing this on division I level and probably a 1,000 doing it overall," Molloy said right after practice while trying to catch his breath. "Maryland is practicing 30 minutes away. It's hotter there than it is here. We got this nice air conditioning coming off the bay."