Practicing in the summer heat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Practicing in the summer heat

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

July 31, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Friday is the first day football teams at Georgia public high schools can hit the field for official practices. It comes during the hottest time of the year.

Heat indices are topping 100 degrees.

It's crucial for students to stay hydrated and for coaches and teachers to keep an eye on the thermometer.

Lee County High School band members were inside Friday evening after a long day on the field, but when the heat index gets up near 100 degrees, the school system's heat policy goes into effect.

"We have to have shade out there, so we make sure we have tents for them to be under when we're out there when we're taking breaks. We also have to give water breaks every 20 minutes when it gets really hot," Hank Carter, Lee High Band Director.

The same goes for outside sports at Dougherty County Schools, anytime the heat index is between 90 and 105 practices are modified.

"To modify the practice simply means that they can go out in shorts and a T-shirts and not full pads. That reduces the heat emergencies that could happen to students," said Johnny Seabrooks, Dougherty County, Director of Athletics

If the heat index is above 105 Dougherty County cancels all outdoor practices.

In Lee county the band goes inside after the index is more than 116 degrees.

The band director says his heat index monitor beeps if that happens.

"The heat index monitor displays the temperature, it displays the relative humidity which right now is 70% and then shows the heat index at 90%," said Carter.

Be it football or band, schools keep a close eye on temperatures.

"The coaches are very vigilant about making sure, because the last thing you want happen is have a young man or a young woman go down in the heat because you were being careless.  We want to make sure we do what we do to protect our student athletes and students in Dougherty County," said Seabrooks

In Lee County they try to educate and inform parents that proper hydration begins at home.

"If they go home and drink a bunch of sodas and have all that carbonation, then all that does is undo what we've done during the day," said Carter.

Carter says staying hydrated is key to staying safe on the field.

Some private schools are already practicing.

Public school teams have been going through voluntary workouts, Friday is the first day the Georgia High School Association allows full practices.

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