ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — High temperatures are pushing plenty of people to escape into air conditioning, but one high school football team in Roanoke County is taking the heat as practices begin for the new season.

The Northside High School Vikings have already started preparing for their first scrimmage of the season next week.

“Heat always worries you. We’ve got some bigger kids, just like everybody else does, and it concerns you a lot. We’ve got some linemen that are heavier,” Northside High’s head football coach, Scott Fisher, said. “We lose sleep over that absolutely.”

Middle linebacker Evan Elliott says he’s used to humidity during practice, but it does make it a little harder when you add on more gear for games.

“Most of the time, they’ll always have on their shoulder pads and their girdle and their pants,” Fisher explained. “Anything tight and restricting like that’s gonna cause more heat in the body, and most players don’t like that, but that’s just part of the football game.”

Fisher encourages his team to drink water as much as they can. In addition, they take breaks every 20 to 25 minutes during practices.

“Coach will take care of us. We have a bunch of breaks in between all these drills,” Elliott said.

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR News)

Health officials also recommend taking frequent breaks when doing outdoor activities in high temperatures.

According to the communications officer for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, Christie Wills, “If the breaks need to come more often during extreme heat, then go ahead and take a break and hydrate.”

Wills says that athletes might be able to tolerate more than an average person, but even if you’re used to being more active, she urges you to remain aware.

“Some ideas to consider are avoiding the afternoon hours and seeking shade and keeping physical activity to a minimum,” said Wills.

Health officials recommend drinking water or sports drinks every hour if you plan to be out in the heat.