High school football programs tackle the heat - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

High school football programs tackle the heat

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

High school football practice is in full swing in Georgia, and this week teams are putting on full pads for the first time.

With the humid, 90-plus degree days, schools and coaches have to take every precaution to make sure players are safe. 

It's summer in the south, and skyrocketing temperatures only make things more unbearable under protective football pads and helmets. So coaches and trainers have very strict guidelines they have to follow to help prevent heat-related injuries. 

Full team practice started a few weeks ago here in Georgia.

In the sweltering heat, teams like the H.V. Jenkins Warriors practice in the cooler parts of the day, keeping in mind that once the temperatures and humidity hit a certain point, the coach moves practice inside.

"If it's too hot, he's not going to put his boys on the field. He'll have other things for them to do before he even puts them out on the field," said football mom Danasia Floyd.

Floyd's son is a lineman on the team. Looking on from the bleachers, she said knowing her son's safety is the number one priority puts her at ease.

"And he makes sure they're well hydrated throughout the summer. Even off the field, he makes sure they drink their water, drink their Gatorade."

But the state's rules don't only dictate the frequency of rest and water breaks, a team of trainers takes measurements with an instrument called a “Wet Bulb Globe.”

H.V. Jenkins Head Football Coach Tim Adams said, "You get a reading and if it falls between certain readings, you start taking some of the equipment off. When it gets to 92, you're done for the day. So you start with full pads, and then it gradually goes down to helmets...or no helmets."

And Coach Adams admitted Mother Nature has more than one way to cut practices short, especially in coastal Georgia.

"We have to make sure we're clear from a heat perspective, and then also from bad weather. We had just got out here, and then there was a strike of lightning that we didn't see. So we had to go back in. Once we get the all clear, we're back out," said Adams.

Aside from putting players at risk, any teams that don't follow the heat and humidity guidelines can face fines from $500 to $1,000.

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