(WSPA) – With temperatures reaching the mid-90s on Monday in the Upstate, high school athletes are feeling it during those pre-season practices.
But this year, all South Carolina schools are following more strict rules aimed at preventing heat stroke.
If you checked out the football field on Monday at Wade Hampton High School between 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. you wouldn’t see any players practicing.
They had two hours on the field on Monday morning and will be back at 6 for another two hours — all to combat those South Carolina temperatures.
“They have to get acclimated to the heat,” Brandon Harris, Wade Hampton High School certified athletic trainer, said. “When they are not that’s when issues pop up — heat exhaustion, heat stroke.”
Harris said Wade Hampton has always taken extra steps, and even required football players to weigh in before and after practice to make sure they’ve had enough to drink.
This year, though, Wade Hampton, and every other school in the South Carolina, will also have to follow state guidelines to prevent overheating.
“This is a brand new policy the High School League just came out with this year. It’s based off the Georgia policy,” Harris said. “It’s standard policy across the country, so South Carolina is kind of catching up a little bit.”
The new rules require all schools to have a wet globe temperature monitor, which takes into account the heat, humidity, wind speed and sun radiation.
“We check this every 15-20 minutes just to check the heat and humidity and wet bulb temperature, and whatever the wet bulb temperature is. That determines if they get more water breaks, how long the water breaks are, or if we can even be outside for practice,” Harris said.
State rules say for the first two days of preseason practice the only gear you can use is the helmet. After that, you can add shoulder pads and from then on you can use full gear.
And those same rules require schools to alternate the long and short day practices, so there are no back to back two-a-days.
After Day 15, there are no practice restrictions and full gear is permitted.
“It’s a good thing to be using, statewide, everyone is using the same thing so it should be safe for all the athletes,” Harris said.
Those practice time limits include warm up and cool down time, but do not include most indoor activities like weights.
Below are links to pre-season practice guidelines and more information on the wet bulb globe temperature monitoring: