SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The National Weather Service announced oppressive heat returns across the four-state region, the heat index impacts us all, especially the youth who participate in outdoor extracurricular activities.
Haughton High School Head Football Coach Stephen Dennis said there are measures in place to protect athletes from heat-related illnesses.
“We’re probably looking at going before school, uh, in the morning for this year. But I think it’s a constant adjustment of ‘You know what the rules are and you got to follow the rules because the safety of the children has got to be the utmost importance,” Dennis said.
Schools in Louisiana must follow ‘The Practice Policy for Heat and Humidity‘ which includes using Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) or “Wet-Bulb,” which is a measure of the heat stress in direct sunlight. It takes into account: temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle, and cloud cover (solar radiation).
The policy is a modified version of the one adopted by the American College of Sports Medicine. The levels are color-coded and range from safe green to yellow, and all the way to black which tells the team to stop practice immediately.
“So green is where you want to be. Green means you can get outside and they can wear full pads, all of that. Yellow, you have to take off shoulder pads and a helmet. When it goes into the red, you can only be in a helmet, shirt, and shorts. When it goes into black you can’t do any outside activity,” Dennis said.
Willis-Knighton and Caddo School Board partnered to deploy athletic trainers to monitor heat, and humidity and ensure student’s safety on the football field.
Dennis said between noon and 7 pm the wet bulb identifies the surrounding area as black and they are forced to plan around it.
He says the temperature changes have been more frequent.
The Band Director at Booker T. Washington High School said they devised “a game plan” so students are “not standing around.”
“Well to, to get around the excessive heat, what we do, we, we plan better. The student’s health is our top priority over the summer and basically, what we do – things that we used to do outside that can be accomplished on the inside we will bring it inside before we go outside. We have a game plan,” Band Director Emmanuel Hudson said.
Hudson said the only reason they go outside is for marching. They no longer take breaks outside and band members are to rehydrate indoors to cool off faster.