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Water park visitors injured seeking relief from scalding temperatures

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Triple-digit heat scorches Texas, Oklahoma
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Three visitors to an Oklahoma water park are injured Wednesday
  • The heat is a factor in dozens of deaths in Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona
  • Wednesday is the 33rd straight day of 100-plus-degree temperatures in Dallas
  • An Eagles football player has seizure but it is unclear if it is heat-related
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Read more about this story from CNN affiliates KDAF and KTUL.

(CNN) -- An afternoon at an Oklahoma City water park turned unpleasant for visitors seeking a break from the blazing sun Wednesday.

Three women at the Whitewater Bay Water Park in Oklahoma were transported to a hospital after sustaining injuries from debris flung in a sudden summer storm.

"A gust of wind and a quick deluge of rain caused the injuries," said Lara O'Leary, a spokeswoman for the city's Emergency Medical Service Authority. "It happened so abruptly it took the Whitewater Bay swimmers by surprise, but the weather is, in a way, a welcome relief because we were predicted to get up to 113 here."

The injuries sustained were minor and the victims were in good condition as of Wednesday evening.

O'Leary said the water park was packed Wednesday with visitors. Paramedics have responded to 269 heat-related emergencies and taken 174 people to area hospitals since a heat advisory was issued on June 17, she said.

The heat wave is taking a deadly toll across the nation, particularly on athletes, as two football players and a coach died during summer football practices this week.

DonTeria Searcy, a 16-year-old high school student, died Tuesday after he passed out after a morning practice at a Florida football camp, the local sheriff's department said.

Another 16-year-old student, Forrest Jones, died Tuesday in a hospital after he passed out during a football practice at an Atlanta-area high school, school administrators said.

And on Monday in Texas, Wade McLain, 55, an assistant football coach, collapsed during a morning practice and heat was ruled as a factor in his death, the local medical examiner's office said.

The heat wave, now in its second month, is responsible for record-setting electricity use in Texas and dozens of deaths across the U.S. heartland.

But this time is especially tough for young football players who don heavy equipment and brave rising temperatures while practicing.

"It is tough and this was an unfortunate incident for us," said J.D. Hardin, a spokesman for Georgia's Henry County School District, which oversees Jones' high school. "But our coaches have a lot of ways to deal with this. We try to hydrate the players and if they have to move the practices to the morning, I know they will."

On Wednesday, Philadelphia Eagles player Mike Patterson suffered a seizure and collapsed during morning practice, but it was not clear what caused the seizure, the team said.

"Patterson was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital where he is being tested to see why he experienced the seizure. Patterson has had no complications from the seizure," the football team said on its website.

The team's head athletic trainer, Rick Burkholder, said "there is nothing in Patterson's medical history to indicate that he is predisposed to having a seizure," according to the team website.

After Patterson, a veteran defensive lineman, lost consciousness, other teammates tried to shield him from the sun while medics helped him, the football team said.

The temperature was about 80 degrees during the Eagles' morning practice.

Temperatures reached a record high in Little Rock, Arkansas, Wednesday, soaring to a scalding 114 degrees. It's the hottest day on record for the city, according to CNN affiliate KLRT-TV. Officials restricted high school football practices to three hours after four student athletes were hospitalized with dehydration, KLRT-TV said.

Meanwhile, Texas set a new record for electricity demand Tuesday afternoon, breaking a mark established a day earlier.

"Due to the high temperatures and high electricity usage expected this week, we are continuing to request that consumers and businesses reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours ... for the remainder of the week," said Kent Saathoff of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state's power grid.

The council is forecasting a third straight day of record demand on Wednesday.

Though exact nationwide figures for heat-related deaths were not immediately available, blistering temperatures have been blamed for at least 22 deaths in Texas and Oklahoma, authorities said Wednesday. Heat was a factor in 20 deaths in Maricopa County in Phoenix, authorities said.

Some school kids in Oklahoma City were dealing with the rising temperatures as 94 classes were without air conditioning Wednesday, said Tierney Cook-Tinnin, spokeswoman for Oklahoma City Public Schools. The school system changed its schedule this year so that students came earlier, starting on Monday, the spokeswoman said.

The children have been moved out of the classrooms that did not have air conditioning and staff was frantically trying to fix the problem, Cook-Tinnin said.

"We've hired outside contractors to help us catch up," she said.

Wednesday marked the 33rd straight day of 100-plus-degree temperatures in Dallas.

CNN's Mia Aquino, Chuck Johnston and Lateef Mungin contributed to this report.

 
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