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Old 08-04-2015, 06:30 PM   #1
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Dangerous heat impacting, football and band practices

The University Interscholastic League has precautions it recommends for student athletes in extreme heat.

As football practice begins this week, so does the marching band. However, there are no official rules to keep bands safe in the sun.

The temperature at which it’s too hot to practice varies from school district to school district.

The Houston Independent School District said it doesn't allow athletes outdoors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In Pearland, they watch the heat index and don’t practice when it feels like more than 105 degrees. The Clear Creek Independent School District said if the temperature reaches 104 degrees, all outside practices will choose whether to move to air-conditioned areas, cancel practice or postpone until after 6 p.m.

All in all, the UIL makes suggestions on heat safety but allows the districts to make their own policies.

Practice for all UIL activities began Monday.

"You have to get conditioned to this. You can't just jump out there, go from inside the house playing Xbox to jumping on the field and going running and playing the game, because it does take it out of you,” Pearland head football coach Tony Heath said.

Conditioning is a part of the UIL recommendations which also consists of these critical points:

1. Each athlete must have a physical exam

2. It is necessary for an athlete to exercise in the heat if he/she is to become acclimatized to it. Gradual physical conditioning should be used … to get used to the heat in the first seven to ten days.

3. It is recommended that a minimum of ten minutes be scheduled for a water break every half hour … Water should be available in unlimited quantities.

"We have water ready continuously throughout the workout,” Heath said. "If anybody goes to a drill and gets to the back of the line, we've got student trainers around there with water bottles and cool rags and stuff to cool them down and continue to keep water in them."

This week Pearland players are practicing without pads to get used to the weather and taking water breaks four times each practice, he said.

However, there are no such guidelines to keep the marching band safe in the sun.

The UIL doesn't consider them a sports team and therefore doesn’t include them on these guidelines. Instead, they have guidelines posted from the National Athletic Trainer Association, which tells schools to make their own emergency medical plans, it also tells students to wear light clothing, hydrate often and take breaks in the shade.

"About every 15 minutes we take a five minute water break, let them get in the shade," Waltrip band director, Jesse Espinoza, said.

Waltrip High School doesn't skip a beat and avoids the hottest hours of the day by starting practice at 8 a.m. but some students are already feeling it.

"Yesterday was the first day, and we had two kids dropping out. It was mostly just heat exhaustion, and most of them did not eat breakfast like we asked them to," Espinoza said. "We cooled them off and kept them out of the heat once they showed signs of heat exhaustion."

Next Level Urgent Care Dr. Wil Jeudy said signs of heat exhaustion could progress and become heat stroke, which is life threatening.

"Fatigue, muscle cramping, thirst, those are usually the first signs," he said. "If it starts to crank up and really get bad, that person needs to stop. The muscle cramps can get worse. You can start to get headaches, dizziness."

For anyone who feels a school is in violation of a specific UIL rule, the UIL said:

"Allegations of violations of UIL rules are first to be considered on the local school district level, with the coach, athletic director, principal, superintendent or school board of trustees."

If the problem is not handled locally, a person could file a complaint in writing with the UIL Compliance Office. This complaint should include the specific UIL rule violation alleged and what, if any, supporting documentation or evidence exists.

There is not a specific form on which to file a complaint, but it may be emailed to athletics@uiltexas.org or estidham@uiltexas.org.

Individuals submitting complaints to UIL should be aware that all information submitted is subject to Freedom of Information/Open Records regulations. The UIL does accept anonymous complaints.



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