New device being used to keep athletes safe from extreme heat

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GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA)- With high school football kick off just around the corner, football players at Gaffney High School have had to adjust to playing in a pandemic but now they are also fighting the heat index.

Gaffney’s athletic trainer Cheltsea Staley says a new device helps them make sure their players are safe in the warm temperatures.

“The wet bulb takes into account humidity, the ambient temperature, and solar radiation and wind,” Staley said. “So we use that device to make sure out athletes are protected outside in the heat and that we don’t have any heat illnesses occur.” 

By just the press of a button and holding it outside for a few seconds the wet bulb device also allows athletic trainers and coaches to be in better communication about what’s best for their players.

“Any time the heat index gets to a certain level to where they would need to start taking off equipment or get off the field or off the courts entirely, coaches are called, coaches are texted, so they know and we make sure our athletes are safe,” Staley said.

Staley said when masks started to be required during practice, they were worried the players would have a hard time breathing and staying cool, especially in high temperatures.

She said so far it hasn’t been a problem and the wet bulb has been a key factor.

“As long as we’re making sure we’re taking proper rest breaks, proper hydration breaks, that the kids are socially distancing, when they’re not in a drill, the masks are giving them protection all the way around,” Staley said.

High school football players in South Carolina will be allowed to wear full pads starting September 8th and the staff at Gaffney says when that starts they’ll have to pay even more attention to the heat.

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