Football coaches, trainers look to reduce risk of injury for pla - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Football coaches, trainers look to reduce risk of injury for players

Wilson High School football team practices during camp Wilson High School football team practices during camp

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - As football practices and games begin, so will the sports-related injuries.

"Some of those newer athletes who have never really done this, you might see them get injured early on," said Valencia Oxendine, a certified athletic trainer with McLeod. "Each school may have a wave of high injury rate or low injury rate sometimes."

The Wilson High School Tigers have been practicing the past few days during football camp. Their first scrimmage is Saturday.

Head Coach Chad Eaddy said the team follows the South Carolina High School League's heat acclimation schedule to lower the risk of heat stroke when games begin. They'll also practice with less gear if the heat index is high.

"Whether it's shoulder pads or helmets or having to actually go in, we monitor those things on the field," Eaddy said.

He said he's focusing on the fundamentals of football during the camp, which he said can help prevent concussions on game days.

"Teaching kids how to tackle and working really hard in the strength program, you can probably limit some of that and that's what we try to do with our players," he said.

Oxendine recommends parents be on the lookout for symptoms of concussion, out-of-the-ordinary behavior and confusion, or heat stroke, not sweating and not being thirsty, in their athletes as the season begins. She said players also need to have healthy habits at home for maximum results on the field.

"We do look at what their hydration levels are, " she said. "How are they eating? Are they getting enough rest? Because all of those things are very important as well."

She also said parents should make a point to meet their team's athletic trainer, who are contracted through McLeod for high schools around the Pee Dee, because the trainer can sometimes treat injuries, saving the family a trip to the doctor.

"You get to know your athletes," Oxendine said. "That's why it's important having a central person at a school."

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