August’s heatwave took its toll on athletes with record high heats getting as high as 115, according to weather.gov.
During the August heatwave, sports had to move practice to the early hours of the morning due to high temperatures. Teams followed the Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer, the same as other athletic trainers.
“The Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer is a device that takes into account the temperature, humidity, direct sunlight, etc and gives a reading. Based on what it says, our teams may be limited in how long they can practice and how often they need to take water breaks,” athletic director Jerry Collins explained.
The Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer, or, WGBT assumes athletes are in direct sun as well as taking in sun angle, wind speed, and cloud cover so that it is not assumed that they are in less intense conditions.
Men’s cross country coach Jon Petter used this thermometer to decide to move the practice to 5:30 a.m., and after school used the weight room to practice. Petter was hesitant to not let the team run due to fear of losing progress, due to how much endurance running takes. There were no health issues on the team. Petter made sure to always practice with water around, as well as bringing Gatorade and the team brought water bottles
“We communicated with all of the coaches the previous week that the heat wave was forecasted, so we were prepared. Athletes needed lots of breaks and water if they did practice during the safe times,” Athletic trainer Sean Wright said.
The school used to use the heat index to measure whether or not to practice, however the heat index is not as accurate as it assumes athletes are in the shade.
According to Wright, the only health issue has been minor cramping at a football game during the heatwave. When athletes do face health issues due to the heat, they are taken to a cool place and given water.
The progression of heat stroke begins with heat cramps before escalating to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In the event of a heat stroke, the school would call 911.
For high school, 82 degrees Fahrenheit and under, all teams are guaranteed three separate rest breaks with a minimum of three minutes long.
If temperatures range from 82.1 to 86.9 degrees Fahrenheit teams are to be careful of intense or long practices and athletes carefully with at least breaks every hour for at least four minutes.
For temperatures of 87-89.9, they need four separate breaks each hour that are at least four minutes long. Football players will not wear their protective gear and there will be no conditioning activities for this or any hotter conditions.
At 90-92.0 degrees Fahrenheit athletes will have 20 minutes of breaks within an hour of practice. Games and competitions will have additional water breaks.
Above 92 degrees, all practices, games and competitions are rescheduled.
Junior and field hockey player Piper Westendorf practiced outside only one day (Aug. 21) before practices were moved inside. Coach Patty Perkins did not want the team to practice outside. Although players were tired, no one experienced any cramps.
“We didn’t play as good because of how hot it was outside.” said Westendorf.
This will be Margaret Oliphant’s first year on ECHO staff. She made several contributions while taking journalism class her junior year.