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Athletic Training - Sports Medicine

Athletic Weather Policies

Fall​ ​Sport​ ​Heat​ ​Acclimatization​ ​Policy

The NCISAA has adopted the following heat acclimatization policy for Secondary School Athletics. This policy is based on the recommendations from the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and an Inter-Association Task Force comprised of the American College of Sports Medicine, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, National Strength and Conditioning Association, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Heat acclimatization is an athlete’s gradual exposure to the intensity and duration of physical activity in the environment in which they are practicing and competing. Proper heat acclimatization is essential for minimizing the risk of exertional heat illness during the preseason practice period. The goal of the acclimatization period is to enhance exercise heat tolerance and the ability to exercise safely and effectively in warm environments. This policy should be followed for all preseason conditioning, training, and practice activities, whether these activities are conducted indoors or outdoors. The heat acclimatization period is defined as the initial 14 days of preseason practice. This period begins on the first day of official team practice for the season. 

General​ ​Guidelines:
a. Single-Practice Days: 
     i. The first 5 days of formal practice 
b. Double-Practice Days: 
     i. Begin no earlier than practice day 6 
     ii. Must be followed by a single-practice day or rest day 
     iii. When a double-practice day is followed by a rest day, another double-practice day is permitted after the rest day iv. Double practices must be separated by three hours of continuous rest 
c. If a practice is interrupted by inclement weather or heat restrictions, the practice should recommence once conditions are deemed safe, but total practice time should not exceed its limitations. 
d. If practice occurs on six consecutive days, student athletes should have one day of complete rest (no conditioning, practices, walk-throughs, etc.).

4. Equipment​ ​Restrictions:
a. Football
     i. Practice days 1 and 2 – helmets only, shorts/t-shirts.
     ii. Practice days 3 through 5 – helmets and shoulder pads only, contact with blocking sleds and tackling dummies may be initiated.
     iii. Beginning practice day 6 – full protective equipment and full contact may begin.
b. Field Hockey
     i. Practice days 1 and 2 – Goalies in helmet and goalie kickers, athletes may wear shin guards, goggles and mouth pieces.
     ii. Practice days 3 through 5 – Goalies in helmet, chest protection and goalie kickers. i
     ii. Beginning practice day 6 – full protective equipment may be worn.
c. Soccer
     i. Shin guards and goalie gloves can be worn beginning day 1
d. Volleyball
     i. Knee pads may be worn beginning day 1.

Practice​ ​Days​ ​1-5:
a. School teams shall conduct all practices within the general guidelines above as well as the following guidelines for practice days 1-5.
b. School teams are limited to one practice per day not to exceed three hours in length.
c. A practice includes warm-up, stretching, cool-down and any other conditioning or weight room activities.
d. Classroom activities i.e. team meetings and film sessions, are not considered part of a practice and may be held in addition to a team practice.
e. In addition, a 1-hour maximum walk-through is also permitted during days 1-5 of the heat acclimatization period. A 3-hour recovery period should be inserted between the practice and walk through.

Practice​ ​Days​ ​6-14:
a. School teams shall conduct all practices within the general guidelines above as well as the following guidelines for practice days 6-14.
b. Total practice time per day should be limited to five hours with no single session longer than three hours in duration.
c. School teams may participate in full contact practices with all protective equipment worn.

The heat acclimatization period is designed for students on an individual basis. Days in which athletes do not practice due to a scheduled rest day, injury, illness, or other reasons do not count towards the heat-acclimatization period. For example, an athlete who sits out the third and fourth day of practices will resume practice as if on day 3. 

Scrimmages during the heat acclimatization period are considered one practice. For football only, scrimmages may not begin until day 9 after three days in full pads.

Cold Weather Protocol

Many factors influence the safety of outdoor activities including temperature, wind chill,
condition of play surfaces, and cloud cover/sun. In order to prevent cold weather injury and
provide for the safety of students the following protocol will be followed:
  1. Athletes should arrive prepared for outdoor activities with proper attire including coats, hats, and gloves. If the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, all outdoor activity will be cancelled.
  2. If the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Advisory, outdoor activity will be limited.
  3. If the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Warning, students will remain indoors.
  4. Students with Asthma or other health conditions which may be exacerbated by cold temperatures should follow the guidelines issued by their health care provider regarding participation in outdoor activities.

Lightning Protocol

The GDS Athletic Department follows the NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association) protocol for lightning in determining exercise/competition during inclement weather. The use of local forecasts, as well as the interpolation of the data by the current Athletic Training staff determines the recommendation for each given day. The "30-30 Rule" is the standing policy as well as the use of lightning detectors on campus to assist in the recognition of the impending danger.
  • A 30-second or less flash-to-bang count calls for removal of the athletes from the field to an appropriate shelter.
  • Thirty-minute rule. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the last flash of lightning is witnessed or thunder is heard prior to resuming play.
For further explanation or information, please follow the link.
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