Heat advisory forces coaches, athletes to make adjustments

Heat advisory forces coaches; athletes to make adjustments
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) -  Practice must go on. As students across the Mid-South prepare for Friday night football, coaches and athletes are taking extra precautions and are making adjustments as the heat index rises to triple digits.

On Wednesday afternoon, players and coaches from Whitehaven High School delayed practice in hopes that the heat index would drop. Instead, they watched game film and did a workout in the weight room.

"The kids haven't had a chance to get properly acclimated to the heat," said Coach Rodney Saulsbery. "Obviously with a game going on this week we've got to get something done."

Whitehaven High School's football season begins on Saturday. The team will be doing all it can to prepare for the heat.

"In this type of weather, heat is dangerous, you have to be careful and just watch out for signs of heat exhaustion," Saulsbery added.

So, what are the signs of heat exhaustion? You can feel weak, nauseous, thirsty, and dizzy. Trainers recommend taking frequent breaks and drinking a lot of water.

Shelby County Schools has a policy (listed below) when it comes to hot temperatures and after-school activities.

Heat Considerations

1. If the heat index is 80-89: Athletes/Students participating in outdoor activities should be watched closely for any heat distress, and frequent water breaks should be taken.

2. If the heat index is 90-94: Optional water breaks every 30 minutes for
10 minutes in duration. Ice down towels for cooling. Watch/monitor athletes carefully for any heat distress.

3. If the heat index is 95-99: Re-check temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index. Mandatory water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration. Along with iced down towels, other means for cooling athletes should be available: water sprinklers, fans, shade etc. Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action. Contact sports and activities with helmets and other possible equipment should be removed while not involved in contact. Athletic activities should be modified such that football players should practice in  shorts, shoulder pads and helmets only.

4. If the heat index is 100-104: Re-check temperature and humidity every
30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index. Mandatory water breaks every 20 minutes for 10 minutes in duration. Along with ice down towels, other means for cooling athletes should be available: water sprinklers, fans, shade etc. Alter uniform by removing items if possible or other modifications should be made,such as football practice in shorts, t-shirts and helmets only. Helmets and other possible equipment removed if not involved in contact or necessary for safety. Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action. Reduce time of outside activity as well as indoor activity if air conditioning is unavailable. If necessary for safety, suspend activity.

5. If the heat index is in excess of 104 degrees: Activity will be suspended, postponed until later in the evening, or held indoors at the coach's discretion. Stop all indoor activity unless air conditioning is available.

Activity could also be rescheduled or postponed, when the heat index has reached an acceptable level. No activity may begin until conditions are acceptable, meaning the heat index is below 104. All appropriate guidelines should be followed based on the reading at the time.

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