North Texas high school football players head back to practice today and their coaches and trainers will be armed with new guidelines to keep young athletes safe in the heat.
Taking precautions to protect youngsters from the heat is always a priority for the coaching staff at Madison High School in Dallas. The trojans hit the practice field twice today, once in the morning, then in the early evening, for what is known as "2-a-days". Coach Ronald Johnson says he takes the necessary steps to keep his athletes safe. "They get plenty of water and breaks in the shade", says Johnson.
Johnson says he supports the release of new safety guidelines to protect athletes from the heat released by the University Interscholastic League and the National Athletic Trainer's Association. The groups say the guidelines will help protect athletes and avoid tragedy, like the death of Dallas Carter player, Eric Brown, who died from heatstroke after a long day of practice in 2004.
After Brown died, Dallas adopted new safety rules, some of which are included in the new guidelines. DISD advocates the use of the psychrometer, a device that measures temperature on the field. Experts also say districts should keep an ice bath on the sidelines to help athletes cool down. It's an item some districts say is too costly.
Some districts are unwilling to follow at least one of the recommendations. Many schools do not want to give up back-to-back "2-a-days". Some say the training is necessary to get athletes in competitive shape. Johnson says he hopes many districts will adopt the new guidelines to help save lives. "This is serious business when we are talking about children, so get on board", says Johnson.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times