Summer heatwave impacting outdoor events

7:00 AM, Jul 16, 2012   |    comments
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BLAINE, Minn. -- Sam Hanson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota can handle Midwest winters but this Minnesota summer is another thing.

Hanson and his team are just one of many from 22 states and17 countries competing in Blaine in the Schwan's Cup. Like Hanson, all of them are competing against one very powerful opponent: the heat.

"You don't get enough water you get a headache, get some cramps," Hanson said.

Isak Nesse, a 15-year-old soccer player from Norway, said the heat wave is something he's never had to play in before.

"It was really hot yeah. It felt like dying almost," Nesse said.

His teammate Tord Hovden said running in the hot weather was something he struggled with.

"One game I just had to get off field because I couldn't breathe," Hovden said.

All players are drilled on staying hydrated. In fact, Barclay Kruse, chief communications officer for the National Sports Center where Schwan's is held, said Schwan's has a colored flag system to help keep players healthy on the field,

On Sunday, a red flag was called early in the day. Red warns of a high heat index and cuts five minutes off of every half of the games. Red was eventually bumped down to yellow, which is a more moderate warning, requiring water breaks in each half. Once players get off the field, they can run and hide indoors.

"We have five different buildings that are conditioned and have a lot of space so there's a lot of places where players can go when they're done playing to cool off," Kruse said.

But there are some like Collin and Andrea Hoffman and their 7-month-old son Grayson, who can't escape the outdoors. The family came out to enjoy the best days of summer at Aquatennial. They're beating the heat with sunscreen for their son and lots of water for everyone.

"You just grin and bear it I guess. It's Minnesota summer," Collin Hoffman said.

With a week to go, Leah Wong, director of the festival said people need to plan ahead.

"Bring your sunscreen, bring water, bring a hat, bring an umbrella for shade, bring your sunglasses. We also encourage people if they're coming out to a water event to bring a swimsuit and a towel," Wong said.

Back in Blaine with a handful of games left Hanson said his team will do whatever they can to fight off the heat.

"It's been pretty hard but we've had some wet rags on the sideline. We've had a lot of water. We stay in the shade," he said.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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