EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

New device helps high school football players and other athletes stay safe in the heat

Aug 1, 2022, 8:17 AM

High school football players from two teams are pictured during a game...

FILE - Lehi’s Carson Gonzalaez, left, tries to get away from Salem Hill’s Easton Cook as they play a high school football game at Lehi on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Lehi won 30-7. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News.)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News.)

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — With Utah hitting triple-digit heat and high school athletics programs starting to practice outside, experts are expressing the need for safety.

Springville High School’s Head Athletic Trainer, Lisa Walker, said Utah high schools have a new heat reading device to keep athletes safe; a wet bulb globe.

“A wet bulb globe is a device that monitors the environment; temperature, humidity, wind speed, there are certain altitude issues. And every high school in the state of Utah with a football team was given a wet bulb globe,” Walker said.

In the last 25 years at least 50 high school football players have died from heat stroke, according to data from The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research.

Walker said that Springville High’s athletes start summer practices with a mandatory slow build-up to become accustomed to the heat. Practices also begin with minimal gear and add more from there.

Walker pointed out that all athletes who practice in the summer are at risk of heat stroke, not just football players.

“We think of this to be a football problem, right? But this is for all sports. So soccer has their own heat acclimatization, tennis has to go through it. All of them go through some version of heat acclimatization,” Walker said.

Walker stressed the importance of knowing the signs of heat stroke. Those signs include confusion, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, and muscle weakness. Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated. 

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New device helps high school football players and other athletes stay safe in the heat