Heat and Student Athletes

Aug 6, 2019, 7:56 AM
Stock Photo...
Stock Photo

SALT LAKE CITY – Temperatures are expected to be near 100 in certain spots along the Wasatch Front, which can be a big problem for high school student-athletes getting ready for football season.  State officials say there are things coaches have to do to protect the kids from the heat.

A lot of so-called “old-timers” may remember taking part in “hell week” as part of their practice when they played football as a kid.  There were two, sometimes three practice session per day in the blazing summer sun and coaches only allowed kids to stop if they were about ready to pass out or throw up.  However, officials with the Utah High School Activities Association say those days are long gone.

Football director Brenan Jackson says they’ve been working very closely with the Korey Stringer Institute, named after a professional football player who died while working for the NFL in 2001.

“He died of heat stroke during some of their practice times,” Jackson says.

One key recommendation made but the KSI is a training schedule that’s designed to protect players from being overwhelmed by the heat.

Jackson says, “It’s a process that they go through to acclimatize to the heat along with their pads and different things like that.  There’s a natural progression that they are to follow.”

For instance, players are only allowed to use their helmets during the first two days.  After that, they can wear their pads, but only for a certain amount of time.  The acclimatization process last for 14 days, and it prohibits coaches from holding three sessions per day, and no session can last for more than three hours.  If a team hits a certain number of hours one day, they have to shorten their practices the next.

Plus, schools have the flexibility to change their schedules if they think it’s necessary.

“Schools can decide when they practice.  They can decide if it’s in the early morning or the evening when it’s not as hot,” he says.

He admits, coaches and trainers weren’t able to spot the warning signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in decades past, but they’ve put a lot of work into making sure those warning signs aren’t ignored, now.

“In most of our larger schools and districts, they have a certified and licensed athletic trainers who are at the practices, and they monitor that,” Jackson says.

The UHSAA now requires certain pieces of equipment have to be at the ready at every school.

“We implemented, last year, that every school had to have a cooling tub,” Jackson says, adding, “They had to have ice and water in the cooling tub large enough not only for player, but for coaches.”

Jackson says they’re also looking into how they may require schools to have something called a wet bulb globe monitor.  It measures how hot a playing field is, and mixes that with air temperatures and the heat index to determine if it’s safe to practice on a particular surface.  Currently, some districts have them, but, Jackson says their committees are trying to figure out how every school in the state should use one.

“They’re discussing a policy that we want to put in place,” he says.

Today’s Top Stories


Utah Falconz team members cheer in celebration...
Mark Jackson

Women’s football team Utah Falconz heads to national championship

Utah's semi-pro tackle women's football team, the Utah Falconz, will head to Texas on June 26 to face off against the Texas Elite Spartans.
16 days ago
boys soccer Utah injuries...
Becky Bruce

High school boys’ soccer put on probation for the high number of ejections

SALT LAKE CITY — The growing number of ejections in high school boys’ soccer prompted the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) to issue a yellow card, of sorts, for the sport. In soccer, a player or coach is ejected when they receive a red card. In such situations, a substitute for the disqualified player […]
18 days ago
FILE - United States gymnasts from left, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nich...
ED WHITE Associated Press

Simone Biles, other women seek $1B-plus from FBI over Nassar

The approximately 90 claimants who said they were sexually assaulted include Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, all Olympic gold medalists.
23 days ago
Figure skate age Olympics...
Associated Press

Figure skating minimum age rises to 17 before 2026 Olympics

The age limit will be phased in with 16-year-olds allowed to compete in the 2023-24 season. It will then rise to 17 for the season before the Olympics.
24 days ago
utah jazz coach...
TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer

Quin Snyder ends his tenure as Utah Jazz coach after 8 seasons

Snyder released a statement through the team, part of it simply saying "it is time." Snyder went 372-264 with the Jazz.
25 days ago
CORRECTS TO GAME 2 INSTEAD OF GAME 1 - Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (3) celebrates afte...
TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer

Warriors answer in Game 2, top Celtics 107-88 to even Finals

Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Jordan Poole connected from just inside of midcourt to cap a huge third-quarter run and the Golden State Warriors evened the NBA Finals at a game apiece by beating the Boston Celtics 107-88 on Sunday night.
25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.