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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ready for the heat

We’ve heard the sad stories in the news. An increase of deaths to heat-related illness in recent years prompted the National Athletic Trainers’ Association to provide recommended guidelines for ​​​high school students to help reduce the risk of illness from heat during practice and play. A 14-day preseason heat acclimatization period will help get ready to play in the heat.

Days 1 through 5:

  • Athletes are not to participate in more than one practice per day.
  • Total practice time should not exceed three hours per day. A one-hour maximum walk-through is permitted. 
  • A three-hour recovery period should be inserted between the practice and the walk-through or vice versa.

Days 6 through 14:

  • Double-practice days must be followed by a single-practice day.
  • On single-practice days, one walk-through is permitted, but must be separated from the practice by at least three hours of continuous rest.
  • When a double-practice day is followed by a rest day, another double-practice day is permitted after the rest day.
  • On double-practice day, neither practice should last more than three hours total. Student athletes should not participate in more than five total hours of practice. 
  • Warm-up, stretching, cool-down, walk-through, conditioning and weight room activities are included as part of the practice time. Two practices should be separated by at least three continuous hours in a cool environment and include rehydration to make up for fluid lost during the first practice.

In sports requiring protective equipment:

Days 1 and 2: 

A helmet should be the only protective equipment permitted; or no activities requiring protective equipment should be performed.

Days 3 through 5: 

Only helmets and shoulder pads should be worn.

Day 6: 

All protective equipment can be worn and full contact may begin.

During the 14-day heat acclimatization period, it is recommended proper medical care be on site before, during and after all practices.

Keep athletes safe during summer’s heat with proper amounts of rest and fluid intake. Following a recommended approach to preparing for a sport in the hot sun may be life-saving advice.

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