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Coaches take safety measures for athletes training in extreme heat

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New Hampstead football coach Michael Moore looks on at practice Thursday (Credit:Robert Catanese)

The Georgia High School Association set policies for athletes that train in heat and humidity.

Schools must follow strict guidelines when scheduling practices in all sports during extremely high heat and humidity days.

Michael Moore is the head football coach at New Hampstead High School.

“We have an athletic trainer on staff and she checks it every day and lets us know if we can go full gear or if we need to just put on helmets,” he said.

The Wet Globe Temperature instrument was created by the US Marines in 1956 at their Parris Island, S.C. training facility. It provided a weather-based tool to let drill sergeants and officers know how far they could push recruits during outdoor activities and still avoid heat illness.

The same technology is used to help coaches determine if conditions are safe for their athletes to train.

“Once our trainer tells us its above where it needs to be we go to our alternate plan which is stay inside, go in the weight room or watch film,” said Moore.

The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index takes into account air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, cloud cover, and sun angle to calculate the heat stress risk from working outdoors.

Coach Moore said heat awareness and safety measures start well before the season does.

“When we go to summer camp on how to stay hydrated how many bottles of water you have to drink according to your body weight,” he said.

WBGT guidelines indicate any readings over 92.0 degrees, no outdoor activities can occur. WBGT readings should be taken every hour, beginning 30 minutes before the beginning of practice.

“Just know that we are following those guidelines and the safety of their child is first and foremost,” said Moore.