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High school coaches, athletic trainers work to keep student-athletes safe in the heat

Practicing in the heat
Posted at 11:07 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 23:07:38-04

A heat wave taking temperatures close to 100 degrees with corresponding levels of high humidity is playing havoc on the practice habits for local sports teams. Just as the game itself evolves, so have techniques when it comes to player safety.

“You can know the playbook and what you’re doing on every single play,” Lakota High School football coach Tom Bolden said. “But if you don’t put yourself in a position from a physical standpoint to do that – that’s hydrating your body – I told the kids, ‘fellas, you’ve got to drink when you don’t feel thirsty.’”

Many schools, including Lakota West, use various factors to determine whether it’s safe to be out on the field.

“It’s a sling psychcrometer,” Lakota West athletic trainer Nic Keuler said, indicating the special piece of equipment he brought to today’s practice. “What it is, it’s checking the wet bulb globe temperature. Wet bulb is better than the heat index.”


It takes into account the temperature, wind speed and humidity to keep the players safe from the elements.

“This thing makes our job easier,” Keuler said. “I take a reading – it takes me 30 seconds.”

Mandatory water breaks throughout practice or workouts or even moving the training sessions altogether are options that school officials have explored.

“Up until school starts, we’re trying to go as early in the day as we can to beat the heat,” Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy football coach KC Woods said.

They took the field at 9 a.m. to get some work in before the temperatures got too high. In Kentucky, Beechwood moved slid practice three and a half hours on Wednesday to get their reps as the sun went down.

“You’ve got to challenge them, but you’ve got to challenge them and be smart,” Beechwood High School football coach Noel Rash said. “Those days of ‘no water,’ those days have been gone a long time.”

Norwood City Schools sent out a notice canceling all outdoor activities Thursday to keep student-athletes safe.