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Soccer tournament organizers keeping players safe and hydrated amid summer heat

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BATON ROUGE - As summer temperatures continue to pick up, thousands of players and families are picking up and heading to Baton Rouge the Youth Soccer National Championship Series.

“We’re doing everything we can try to do to make sure we keep everybody safe and hydrated,” Santana Ruiz, Director of Sports Medicine for the Baton Rouge Soccer Club, said.

Hydration, lots of shade, and even ice baths are how roughly 5,000 players are trying to stay cool at the Burbank Soccer Complex.

“We made sure we overbought ice and water,” Louie Smothermon, Executive Director for the Baton Rouge Soccer Club, said.

Competing against some of the best youth teams in the country, while also battling the hot and sticky weather, can easily result in overheating and dehydration.

“We’ve secured East Baton Rouge EMS to be on site. They have their command center with a couple of EMTs. They have IV fluids in case that’s needed in the event of an emergency,” Ruiz said.

With feel like temperatures reaching well into the triple digits this weekend, tournament organizers have an entire team dedicated to making sure player, and everyone else out here stays cool and hydrated.

“We have air-conditioned tents throughout the park. And our hydration team is working around the clock to sure there’s ice cold water for everyone,” Smothermon said.

With teams vying for a spot in the national championship next month, both the games and the weather will be heating up on the field.

“We’ve definitely had some kids that are hot right. And we’ll take them out, sit them down, cool them off a little bit. But fortunately we haven’t had to use our emerging tubs or anything like that and frankly, that’s the goal. We don’t want to have to use that,” Ruiz said.

Organizers say it’s important for players to have a good time, however, leaving the field healthy and wanting to come back is the main goal.

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