AAP issues heat guide for athletes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

AAP issues heat guide for athletes

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended new guidelines to protect student athletes Wednesday.

The AAP says just keeping athletes hydrated during summer practices is not enough to protect them. The group says better education and training are needed.

The recommendations come after two Georgia high school football players died following practices this summer.

The Lee County High School Athletic trainer says he is taking the proper steps to educate his players off the field where he says it counts the most. 

Lee County High is a part of a 30 school, three-year research study conducted by the University of Georgia that ends in October.

They use a wet bulb that collects data on the temperature and other factors of heat such as humidity. This will give researchers data on how to set guidelines when it comes to practicing in the heat.

 "We're trying to prevent a heat related illness. We're trying to save a kid's life hopefully. Now this way we can say we have research and documents that say across the state of Georgia these are the temperatures the illnesses happened at."

Brian Davis is a certified Athletic Trainer who believes education is key in this type of weather.

"We tell the kids if you wait until a couple of hours, a day before practice or day before the game to start hydrating and start eating right and taking care of yourself then it's too late," he said.

According to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, since 1980, most of the football heat related deaths occur in early August with nearly 25% happening during the first three days of practice.

That's why the new AAP safety guidelines include allowing athletes to gradually adapt to physical activity in the heat.

"You have to get out and start conditioning yourselves. You have to get your body used to the heat and that's a part of the acclimatization process."

Davis said the Lee County High actually complies with all of the new AAP guidelines.

He knows taking the proper steps off the field is just as important as taking them on the field and that's why he has the Trojans of Lee County High in tip top shape. 

Now, the guidelines are still the same in Lee County. When the heat index hits 106º the players don't practice in pads and when it hits 115, practice is canceled.

The AAP says heat related football deaths have increased since the mid 90's. Nearly 95% of those players were overweight.


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