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


Cam Rising losing his helmet (Photo Credit, Wally Skalij, LA Times)...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: The long and winding road to the championship

Never give up, not on each other, the children, or life. We may be down, but never out. Keep fighting for the things we hold dear. We believe in each other.
18 hours ago
NBA Ice Buckets...
Devin Oldroyd

NBA fans invited to show “ice in their veins” at NBA Ice Buckets challenge

The NBA and Utah Jazz invite you to play NBA Ice Buckets, a free-to-play indoor basketball shooting challenge at Trolley Square.
2 days ago
For the first time in history, a woman has taken to the field as a referee during World Cup soccer....
Associated Press

Stéphanie Frappart makes history as 1st female World Cup ref

Frappart also had two women as assistants. Neuza Back of Brazil and Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico complete an all-female refereeing team on the field.
3 days ago
A US Soccer spokesperson told CNN in an email that Pulisic, who collided with the Iranian goalkeepe...
Kevin Dotson and Matias Grez, CNN

Christian Pulisic is day-to-day after being taken to hospital with pelvic contusion suffered scoring winning goal for US

A US Soccer spokesperson told CNN in an email that Pulisic, who collided with the Iranian goalkeeper after scoring his goal, went for medical scans but "was not hospitalized."
4 days ago
The USA has beaten Iran at the World Cup and advances into the Knockout Round....
Matias Grez

USMNT advances to World Cup knockout stage with victory over Iran

Christian Pulisic's first-half goal was all that separated the two sides as the USMNT reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2014.
5 days ago
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Heat and Student Athletes