New Orleans Saints shorten outdoor portions of practice because of hot weather

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Hot weather — even by south Louisiana standards — is causing the New Orleans Saints to change their training camp schedule.

The club announced Tuesday evening that it has decided to shorten the time the team is scheduled to practice on outdoor fields during days when training camp is open to fans, “in an effort to protect the health and safety of Saints fans, players, coaches and staff.”

Outdoor sessions that had been scheduled to last nearly two hours have been shortened to about an hour.

Orlan Lockhart enters New Orleans Saints training camp with son Orlan Lockhart Jr on Jly 29. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert


“Based on the heat warnings facing our community we have altered the practice schedule to allow our fans to show their support for the team while also reducing their exposure to the significant heat being forecasted over the coming days,” Saints President Dennis Lauscha said. “We encourage all fans whose health will allow and have a ticket to attend.”

But the club also encouraged fans who are susceptible to heat-related health problems “to please put their safety first and consider not attending.”

The stands at Saints training camp are covered to provide shade and equipped with electric fans that spray a cooling mist over spectators. Still, a club spokesman said four spectators and an on-duty police officer received medical attentions because of heat-related symptoms during the club’s previous open practice Monday.

New Orleans Saints mascot Sir Saint signs autograph on back of fan’s shirt at training camp in Metairie, Louisiana, July 29. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

The Saints for several years have placed a refrigeration trailer retrofitted with windows and benches so that players can cool off between periods of activity on the fields. Trainers also monitor players for heat-related symptoms and encourage them to hydrate throughout practice. Still, a handful of players have left practice early since the opening of camp last week because of heat-related symptoms. And during a closed practice Tuesday, the Saints briefly halted practice on their outdoor fields and finished the day’s work on an indoor, air conditioned practice field.

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