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Softball tournament players and fans ready for the heat on and off the field

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) – The City of Rockford is set to host another new tournament. 85 teams are set to participate in the brand new Rockford tournament. The level of competition, like the temperatures, is expected to be very high.

The National Softball Association Tournament will bring about 5,000 visitors to the stateline this weekend, but there’s a potential problem, the heat. SwedishAmerican Hospital Doctor Scott French says the heat could be an issue.

“We’ll of course be concerned with heat exhaustion,” said French. “Where they’ll feel weak, light-headed, dehydrated.”

French also says it’s important for athletes to protect themselves from the sun.

“If they’re outside, in the peak times of the day, we worry about sun exposure,” said French. “So, I definitely recommend they have their sunscreen on, and, since they’re running around and sweating a lot, we”ll want them to reapply it every hour.”

The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau helped organize the event and is taking steps to be prepared.

“We’re making sure there’s extra water, that there’s misters,” said RACVB Vice President of Sales and Service, Lindsay Arellano. “The fire department is actually going to bring out a huge mister, to MercyHealth Sportscore One tomorrow. We’ve got water features and games at the parks as well.”

Some of those water features were out during Wednesday’s opening ceremony.

“Behind me we have a hydro blaster where the girls are getting soaked with water balloons. On the other side of us we have a dunk tank,” said Arellano.

Parents are also preparing to cheer on their girls, while trying to stay cool.

“We also have those spray fans that you can put the water in. It’s a fan, and you can mist the water,” said NWI Alliance Softball mom Amy Paramangtis. “We actually also just bought those weed killers and we’re going to fill them with ice to be able to mist the kids.”

One coach says his team has a plan to stay cool between games.

“Just swimming. Swimming at the hotel and a water park on Thursday night,” said Illinois Irish coach Colby Zellers.

Tournament games start Thursday and continue through Saturday. In total, the event is expected to bring in more than $1.1 million to the region.

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