Local schools have guidelines in hot weather


Heat-related illness on decline as result

By Rob Rose - jrose@civitasmedia.com



Rob Rose | NDL Heat index chart from the CDC.


Rob Rose | NDL Frequent water and rest breaks are most important in hot and humid practice.


Rob Rose | NDL As Heat Index increases, players are required wear less of bulky football uniform and pads.


The temperatures in the area the last couple of weeks have been in the mid to upper 90s as highs, but the Heat Index has been the number getting the lion’s share of attention at practices of our local High School Sports teams.

Russellville and Logan County (And the middle schools), like most Kentucky high schools, began its fall sports practices recently. There have been some breaks in the heated weather of late, but the heat remains a concern as summer hits its mid-season stride.

Temperatures were in the 90s as the dead period ended for our local schools’ football, soccer, volleyball, golf and cross-country programs. Russellville High School Athletic Director Calvin Head said, “A major adjustment we have made is (the changing of) our practice times. Our teams are practicing later in the evenings to keep from practicing during the hottest parts of the day.”

KHSAA Guidelines

According to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA), the Kentucky Medical Association Committee on Physical Education and Medical Aspects of Sports issued a recommended procedure to KHSAA for implementation. Each of these recommendations was adopted by the KHSAA Board of Control. A complete listing of support documents in these recommendations is available at http://www.khsaa.org/sportsmedicine/

These guidelines include close monitoring of temperature, humidity and the resulting heat index. Thirty minutes prior to the start of activity, temperature and humidity readings are taken at the practice site. If the heat index is found to be above 95 degrees, it is measured again every 30 minutes to be sure it does not increase.

Summed up in the following, KHSAA has determined that activity must be altered and/or eliminated based on this Heat Index as determined:

Under 95 degrees Heat Index All sports

—Water should always be available and athletes be able to take in as much water as they

desire.

—Optional water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration to allow hydration as a

group

—Have towels with ice for cooling of athletes as needed

—Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

—Re-check temperature and humidity every 30 minutes if temperature rises in order to

monitor for increased Heat Index.

95 degrees to 99 degrees Heat Index All sports

—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 to allow for hydration

as a group

—Have towels with ice for cooling of athletes as needed

—Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

—Contact sports and activities with additional required protective equipment

—Helmets and other equipment should be removed when athlete not directly involved with

competition, drill or practice and it is not otherwise required by rule.

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

—Re-check temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index.

100 degrees (above 99 degrees) to 104 degrees Heat Index All sports

—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 to allow for hydration

as a group

—Have towels with ice for cooling of athletes as needed

—Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

—Alter uniform by removing items if possible and permissible by rules

—Allow for changes to dry t-shirts and shorts by athletes at defined intervals.

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

—Postpone practice to later in day.

—Contact sports and activities with additional required protective equipment

—If helmets of other protective requirement are required to be worn by rule or normal

practice, suspend practice or competition immediately

—For sports that do not have mandatory protective equipment, reduce time of outside activity and

consider postponing practice to later in the day.

—Re-check temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for changes in Heat Index.

Above 104 degrees Heat Index All Sports

—Stop all outside activity in practice and/or play, and stop all inside activity if air conditioning

is unavailable.

Most heat illness during football

In 2011, the University of North Carolina partnered with researchers at the Korey Stringer Institute and Ohio State University and determined that nearly 75 percent of the cases of heat illness occurred in football. The next highest were girls’ volleyball (4.8 percent), girls’ soccer (3 percent) and boys’ wrestling (3 percent). The study analyzed data collected from 2005 to 2011 by the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System. The summer of 2011 was particularly tragic, when six high school football players died due to high temperatures and lack of re-hydration, triple the average.

In 2009, a former Kentucky high school football coach was found not guilty in the death of a player who collapsed at a practice on a hot summer day.

This was the first time a football coach was charged in the death of a player. The case resulted in heightened awareness of the dangers of hot weather and changes to Kentucky law and other efforts helped to make practices safer for athletes.

Tragedy leads to change

The collapse and later death of the 15 year in practice in 2009 led to changes. Some changes included Kentucky lawmakers’ passing of legislation that led to a four-hour online course for coaches on emergency planning and recognition; temperature-related illnesses; head, neck and facial injuries; and first aid.

Some schools in Kentucky now require all athletes and at least one parent to watch a 40-minute video that touches on everything from dietary supplements to bacterial infections. Local high school coaches must attend a seminar on using positive reinforcement when dealing with students.

Also in 2009, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association issued a report recommending more stringent heat-related guidelines at the high school level. Among the recommendations were eliminating two-a-day practices during the first week of August drills and giving players more time to recuperate.

Good news and bad news

There is good news and bad news in a 2013 study in American Journal of Preventative Medicine about heat illness in high school sports: the bad news is that the rate for football players is 11 times higher that of all other sports combined, and that, in a third of the cases, no medical professional was on site at the time of injury. The good news is that, despite a rash of heat-related deaths (6 in 2011 alone, all in football), the overall rate of EHI across all high school sports is low and dropping.

The study recommended more education. While all schools in the study had an athletic trainer, but one AT cannot be present at all sports practices and competitions for one school. “Therefore, education of sports administrators, coaches, athletes, and parents about the prevention, identification, and management of EHI is critically important,” said lead author, Zachary Y. Kerr, MPH, of the Department of Epidemiology at Marshall University.

Next recommended was to comply with pre-season heat-acclimatization guidelines: Because a large proportion of events occured in the first two hours of practice, limiting practice sessions to 2 hours and providing frequent water breaks was recommended. Finally, the study recommends to modify, postpone, or cancel practices if Heat Index is too high. Coaches and athletic trainers should be prepared to modify, postpone, or cancel practices and competitions in accordance with published guidelines (i.e. the KHSAA requirements).

The study concludes that strategies are needed to improve surveillance of heat illness in sports in order to identify risk factors and prevention strategies.

August is worst

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also found that the highest rate heat illness among football players. Also report also found that heat illnesses occur most frequently in August (66.3%).

“All heat illnesses are preventable,” says the study. To reduce the risk for heat illness, the CDC recommends the following of guidelines in place and education about heat-related illness and the importance of proper hydration before, during, and after sports. And that coaches and athletic administrators monitor the Heat Index and be prepared to modify practices as appropriate.

What is the Difference?

The CDC provides the following explanation of heat related illness.

Your body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn’t enough. Your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and you can develop a heat illness. Most heat illnesses occur from staying out in the heat too long. Exercising too much for your age and physical condition are also factors. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk. Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, replenishing salt and minerals, and limiting time in the heat can help.

Heat-related illnesses include:

Heatstroke – a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness

Heat exhaustion – an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse

Heat cramps – muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise

Heat rash – skin irritation from excessive sweating

Are our kids safe?

Yes.

When at practice, athletes are seen wearing a minimum amount of gear.

Volunteers stand by with gallons of water and a watchful eye to prevent and/or to detect symptoms of heat illness.

And our student/athletes are well educated and encouraged by their coaches and teammates to communicate regarding this issue.

“Our coaches have done a fantastic job monitoring the heat index each day,” says Coach Head of RHS. “The coaches are making sure that frequent water breaks are being given throughout the duration of practice,” he added.

Rob Rose | NDL Heat index chart from the CDC.
http://newsdemocratleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_heat-index.jpgRob Rose | NDL Heat index chart from the CDC.

Rob Rose | NDL Frequent water and rest breaks are most important in hot and humid practice.
http://newsdemocratleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_lcwater1.jpgRob Rose | NDL Frequent water and rest breaks are most important in hot and humid practice.

Rob Rose | NDL As Heat Index increases, players are required wear less of bulky football uniform and pads.
http://newsdemocratleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_nopads.jpgRob Rose | NDL As Heat Index increases, players are required wear less of bulky football uniform and pads.
Heat-related illness on decline as result

By Rob Rose

jrose@civitasmedia.com

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