Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Georgia Takes Steps to Make August Practices Safer in the Heat

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Over the past 15 years, Georgia has had more heat-related deaths of high school football players than any other state in America.  That fact wasn't lost on the state's governing body on Monday when it made big changes to its policy on teams practicing in the heat.

For the first time in state history, the Georgia High School Association has implemented a policy that limits practice time, that includes a ban on three-a-day preseason practices.  Also included in the sweeping changes is a rule that prohibits two-a-day practices on consecutive days, plus limits practice to no more than five hours in a single day.

The GHSA also is requiring that all schools must use wet-bulb temperatures, and not the heat index, to determine when excessive heat and humidity call for limiting or canceling practices. Wet-bulb temperature is the temperature one feels when one's skin is wet and is exposed to moving air.

Here are other rules changes approved by the GHSA on Monday:

- Each player must participate in five days of practices in only helmets, t-shirts and shorts before going to pads in August. These practices without pads, which may begin no sooner than July 25, are limited to two hours.

- Practice in pads, which may begin Aug. 1, are limited to three hours.