The heat this summer has affected Collier County Public Schools and has caused procedural changes for all outdoor activities.

The Naples High School website put out a statement on heat-related weather on Aug. 18 stating that they are committed to following specific heat index guidelines recommended by experts and that they will modify or cancel outdoor activities to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses. The update also stressed that they are closely following the situation and recommended students to stay hydrated and to remain in the shade during breaks. However, athletes have been the most affected.

“Many of our practices have been cut short and we have to monitor the players very carefully when we are practicing to make sure they are safe,” football coach Richard Martin said.

Players and coaches have had to pay increased attention to the changing weather and be aware of their stamina in the heat.

“I think that they have to take good care of themselves and they have to make sure they’re drinking water all day so they don’t get dehydrated, and we have to make sure that they take breaks to drink water during practice too because they’re losing a lot of sweat out there,” football coach Kyle Lindquist said.

Besides implementing the health guidelines, coaches have had to change practice times and move games around.

“I think we’ve gotten most of our football practices in, but we had to go at 5:00 a.m. one day, so that was inconvenient,” Lindquist said.

Despite being disappointed about not being able to play outdoors, players have been understanding of the situation. They have had to adapt and be creative with being productive with the time they spend indoors.

“The players don’t really like it, just because they wish they could be outside doing their sport, but they also know when we are in the gym we’re still able to get the things we need to get done,” football coach Marcelino Charles said.

The heat has been a nuisance, but not an obstacle for the sports teams.

“We’ve always had something, whether it’s the heat or the rain that just comes with living in Southwest Florida, but we do a really good job of still being able to get practice and games in,” Charles said.

The heat situation at NHS is unprecedented. This year has had some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the world, especially in Florida.

“We’ve never had the heat so high here,” Charles said. “So hopefully by the end of Sept. everyone is able to go back to normal just [be]cause for some students it’s their senior year so hopefully they get a full season.”

Usually, the main weather problem that affects sports is rain and storms.

“Before we’ve had weather, you know, lighting and we’ve been rained out before, but not like this heat,” Lindquist said. 

It will be a while before temperatures begin to drop in the fall. Until then, the summer heat will persist for a few more weeks. 

We will continue to monitor forecasts as next week progresses and will provide updates as needed,” the Naples High School website said in its update on heat-related weather.