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Tag Archive | "Michigan High School Athletic Association"

Heat and hydration in hot weather


 

With the beginning of a new year for high school sports just a week away, members of the Michigan High School Athletic Association have been preparing to follow a new model policy for hot weather activity, guided by a new publication and a rules meeting emphasis on heat and hydration.

The MHSAA Representative Council adopted a Model Policy for Managing Heat & Humidity earlier this year, a plan many schools have since adopted at the local level. The plan directs schools to begin monitoring the heat index at the activity site once the air temperature reaches 80 degrees, and provides recommendations when the heat index reaches certain points, including ceasing activities when it rises above 104 degrees.

The model policy is outlined in a number of places, including a new publication called Heat Ways, which is available for download from the MHSAA Website.  Heat Ways not only provides the model policy, but addresses the need for proper acclimatization in hot weather.

The topic of heat-related injuries receives a lot of attention at this time of year, especially when deaths at the professional, collegiate and interscholastic levels of sport occur, and especially since they are preventable in most cases with the proper precautions. In football, data from the National Federation of State High School Associations shows that 41 high school players have died from heat stroke between 1995 and 2012.

In addition to the information now contained in Heat Ways, the Association is making dealing with heat, hydration and acclimatization the topic for its required pre-season rules meetings for coaches and officials. The 15-minute online presentation spends a fair amount of time talking about the need for good hydration in sports, regardless of the activity or time of year.

“We know now more than we ever have about when the risk is high and who is most at risk, and we’re fortunate to be able to communicate that information better than ever before to administrators, coaches, athletes and parent,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “Heat stroke is almost always preventable, and we encourage everyone to avail themselves of the information on our website.”

Roberts added that the first days of formal practices in hot weather should be more for heat acclimatization than the conditioning of athletes, and that practices in such conditions need planning to become longer and more strenuous over a gradual progression of time.

“Then, schools need to be vigilant about providing water during practices, making sure that youngsters are partaking of water and educating their teams about the need for good hydration practices away from the practice and competition fields,” Roberts said.

 

Excerpts from the new policy:

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS BELOW 95 DEGREES: 

All Sports 

Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and athletes should be able to take in as much water as they desire.

Optional water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration.

Ice-down towels for cooling.

Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS 95 DEGREES TO 99 DEGREES: 

All Sports 

Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and athletes should be able to take in as much water as they desire.

Optional water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration.

Ice-down towels for cooling.

Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

Contact sports and activities with additional equipment: 

Helmets and other possible equipment removed while not involved in contact.

Reduce time of outside activity. Consider postponing practice to later in the day.

Recheck temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index.

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS ABOVE 99 DEGREES TO 104 DEGREES: 

All Sports 

Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and athletes should be able to take in as much water as they desire.

Mandatory water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration.

Ice-down towels for cooling.

Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

Alter uniform by removing items if possible.

Allow for changes to dry t-shirts and shorts.

Reduce time of outside activity as well as indoor activity if air conditioning is unavailable.

Postpone practice to later in the day.

Contact sports and activities with additional equipment: 

Helmets and other possible equipment removed if not involved in contact or necessary for safety. If necessary for safety, suspend activity.

Recheck temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index.

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS ABOVE 104 DEGREES: 

All sports

Stop all outside activity in practice and/or play, and stop all inside activity if air conditioning is una-vailable.

Note: When the temperature is below 80 there is no combination of heat and humidity that will result in need to curtail activity.

 

 

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