August 29, 2006
Albany - The Georgia High School Association is now requiring all member schools to have a written policy for conducting practices for sports during extreme heat and humidity.
Schools will also be required to have approved instruments to measure the air temperature, humidity and heat index at all practices after a Rockdale County high school football player died of heatstroke on August first.
Dougherty County school system athletic director Johnny Seabrooks has already been talking with school board members about a heat related policy that he says will cover not only athletics but all extracurricular activities including band practice.
While Dougherty County schools do not have a written heat policy, local coaches have been monitoring the weather during summer practice session for five years.
Since 2001, the four county high schools have used psychrometers which measure heat and humidity.
Athletic trainers Henry Rivers and Paige Sells work with the coaches who based on the weather conditions make sure that their players have sufficient water breaks and check to make sure that all athletes are sufficiently hydrated.
And Seabrooks says it will be up to each coach at each school to structure their practice sessions based on the weather conditions.
Johnny Seabrooks said "If the heat index is at 102 and say we are not going to practice. This is just an example. The heat index could be 102 at Dougherty but like I said at Westover it is cloudy and they have had one of these afternoon showers and the heat index could be under 98. So, we don't need to stop one school from practicing because of the heat index. So, we will measure that school by school."
The Georgia High School Association will ask the state board of education to adopt the proposal as a state rule.