Today, the Hathaway Brown Blazers have athletic practice along with cross country, golf and tennis matches as temperatures reach 90 degrees for the second consecutive day.
When it comes to extreme weather conditions, members of the athletic department take every precaution. The wind factor, heat index and temperature of the tennis field and turf field, which is warmer than grass, are all considered.
Jody Duecker, HB athletic trainer, follows the National Athletic Trainers Association andOhio High School Athletic Association guidelines for weather and uses tools and resources to determine if modifications are needed for athletic activity. A handheld device called a weather station is used for tracking temperature, humidity and heat index to determine if conditions warrant adjustments to the activity such as switching practice indoors, incorporating more water breaks or changes to the intensity of the sport.
HB Athletic Director Julie Kerrigan-Ettorre said the preseason, which starts in August when high temperatures are the norm, is a period where the body gets acclimated to heat. Teams gradually increase their practice to two-a-days which allows the body to build enough stamina to stay active in extremely hot weather.
HB’s coaching staff is certified in first aid, safety and CPR and they are trained to identify and respond to signs of heat exhaustion. “Our coaches are well versed in keeping kids healthy while playing their sports,” said Kerrigan-Ettorre. “For example, in Monday’s heat, the cross country team utilized a work-to-rest ratio – staying active for 15 minutes and taking 15-minute breaks.”
Kerrigan-Ettorre said in extreme heat, student athletes should listen to their bodies and be proactive in managing their sleep patterns, hydration and nutrition. She explained a good night’s rest prepares the body for game day. Kerrigan-Ettorre compared hydration to a full tank of gas suggesting athletes fill up before their activity and refuel with water breaks during practice or games. And she said eating five times daily – breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks – gives the body ample energy to maintain cool temperatures during active times versus using energy to fight hunger pangs.