Athletic Training - Sports Medicine

Athletic Weather Policies

Hot Weather Protocols for Fall Sports

The GDS Athletic Department follows the NCISAA HEAT ACCLIMATIZATION POLICY  in determining exercise guidelines for early fall and late spring athletic participation. The use of local forecasts, current heat and humidity, as well as the interpolation of the data by the current Athletic Training staff determines the policy for each given day. 
The heat acclimatization period is defined as the initial 14 days of preseason practice.  The goal of the acclimatization period is to enhance exercise heat tolerance and the ability to exercise safely and effectively in warm to hot conditions.  This period should begin on the first day of official team practice for the season.  Any practices or conditioning conducted before this time should not be considered a part of the heat acclimatization period.  Regardless of the conditioning program and conditioning status leading up to the first formal practice, all players (including those who arrive at preseason practice after the first day of practice) should follow the 14 day heat acclimatization plan.
  • Days 1 through 5 of the heat acclimatization period consist of the first 5 days of formal practice.  During this time athletes may not participate in more than 1 practice per day.
  • A practice is defined as the period of time a participant engages in a coach-supervised, school approved sport or conditioning-related physical activity.  Each individual practice should last no more than 3 hours.  Warm-up, stretching and cool-down activities are included as part of the 3 hour practice time.  For fall sports other than football, a coach may separate the 3 hour practices into smaller time segments not to exceed a total of 3 hours.
  • If practice is interrupted by inclement weather, the practice can recommence once conditions are deemed safe.  Total practice time should not exceed 3 hours in any one day.
  • A 1 hour maximum walk-through is permitted during days 1-5 of the heat acclimatization period.  However, a 3 hour recovery period should be inserted between the practice and walk-through – or vice versa.
  • A walk-through is defined as a teaching opportunity with the athletes not wearing protective equipment (helmets, shoulder pads, etc.) or using sport related equipment (footballs, blocking sleds, etc.).  The walk-through is not part of the 3 hour practice period, can last no more than 1 hour per day and does not include conditioning.
  • During days 1-2 of the heat acclimatization period, a helmet should be the only protective equipment permitted.  During days 3-5, only helmets and shoulder pads should be worn.  Contact with blocking sleds and tackling dummies may be initiated.  Beginning on day 6, all protective equipment may be worn and full contact can begin.
  • Beginning on day 6, double practice days must be followed by a single practice day.  On the single practice days, one walk through is permitted, separated from the practice by at least 3 hours.  When a double practice day is followed by a rest day, another double practice day is permitted after the rest day.
  • On a double practice day, neither practice should exceed 3 hours in duration, and student athletes should not participate in more than 5 hours of practice.  Warm-up, stretching, cool-down, walk-through and conditioning are included as part of the practice time.  The 2 practices should be separated by ä least 3 continuous hours.
  • During the preseason heat acclimatization period, if a practice occurs on 6 consecutive days, student athletes should have 1 day of complete rest (no conditioning, walk-through, practices, etc.).
  • Days on which athletes do not practice due to a scheduled rest day, injury, or illness do not count toward the heat acclimatization period.  For example, an athlete who sits out the 3rd and 4th days of practice during this time (e.g., Wednesday and Thursday) will resume practice as if on day 3 when returning to play on Friday.
  •  Scrimmages during the heat acclimatization period are considered 1 practice.

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.

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

If the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Advisory, outdoor activity will be limited.

If the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Warning, students will remain indoors.

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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