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Scorching heat doesn't stop youth sports in Utah, but organizers make adjustments

Posted at 3:54 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 22:29:32-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Hot weather affects us all, but especially those who play sports out in the sun and dangerous temperatures.

FOX 13 News caught up with players, parents and the organizer of a weekend softball tournament in South Jordan where they were taking special measures for the heat.

"I think being pre-hydrated, like drinking a lot of water before you get out there, is really important," said Bryerly Avina, a college softball player participating in the "In It to Win It" fastpitch girls' softball tournament.

She says the heat wouldn't keep her from getting out to the games.

"I think we just power through it," Avina said. "We’re out here to play ball."

WATCH: Temperature records could be shattered during scorching Utah weekend

Tournament organizer Jerry Cordova Ong said they're prepared for the heat.

"When we see the heat index rising earlier in the week, we’ll change game times," he said. "So this tournament started at 8:00 in the morning."

Ong said they're providing ice and water and taking more in-play breaks to keep everyone hydrated.

"The heat hasn’t stopped us," he said. "It might slow us down a little bit. These are die-hard kids. They love to play."

One parent at the games watching his daughter play ball talked about ways he was keeping cool, but also about measures he's taking with his student-athletes getting ready to start their football season.

"We’re getting ready to start two-a-days and we’re already telling our kids, 'You've got to start hydrating now,'" Bryan Tso from Tooele said.

All schools in Utah have to follow certain guidelines put in place by the Utah High School Activities Association, which can be found here.

South Sanpete School District Assistant Superintendent Trevor Powell said these guidelines have helped bring athletics a lot further since he was a high school football coach years ago.

"Really in those first 14 days, they feel like it’s really critical to climatize these kids," he said. "It could be soccer, lacrosse — football’s kind of taken the lead because of that protective equipment. I'm just glad the state has really spelled this out for us."

But he added that there are new issues to deal with like the additional heat many schools deal with now thanks to artificial turf being installed in some fields.

Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said they are taking precautionary measures.

"Most of our turf fields are equipped with water cannons to help cool down the turf as appropriate," he said.

As for any advice for parents with athletes heading out to play in the heat, Powell said the bottom line is hydration.

"It is hot. Drink lots of water," he said.

Powell added that it's important for kids to speak up about how they feel or if they've got any possible heat exhaustion symptoms to their coaches before they get sick.