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Fall Student Athletes in Carroll County Have to Step on the Scale

A new procedure meant to prevent heat related sickness requires athletes to be weighed before and after each practice.

Carroll County Public Schools will follow policies recommended by the Maryland State Board of Education regarding heat acclimatization for student-athletes -- including being weighed before and after each practice.

Jim Rodriguez, supervisor of Athletics for , explained the procedures at a recent board of education meeting. 

"The number of heat related deaths over the last 15 years hasn't really changed much and folks are concerned about that," Rodriguez said. "The alarming thing is that heat-related illness and death is almost entirely preventable."

Do you think Carroll County schools need to do more to protect student athletes from heat related sickness? Tell us in comments.

As a result, Rodriguez said that the model policy is based on educating and recommending treatments to coaches, parents and athletes.

The procedures that will be implemented or are already in practice include:

  • Providing education, including hydration awareness, key terms and risk factors to coaches, parents and students.
  • Utilizing resources from the National Federation of High Schools, National Athletic Trainers Association, and the Center for Disease Control.
  • The creation of simple emergency plans that include stakeholder responsibility (i.e. head coach monitors injured athlete, assistant coach stays with the team, athletic trainer files report, etc...).

The procedure of weighing athletes will only pertain to fall sports. According to Rodriguez, some of the heat related policies are specific to fall sports because practices begin in August, as opposed to other seasons that begin when temperatures pose less of a health threat.

Rodriguez said the purpose of weighing athletes is only to measure the amount of water loss. He said the weight of the athlete is irrelevant, the only concern would be if the athlete weighs a certain amount less at the end of practice than at the beginning.

According to an article on heat stress and athletic participation on the University of Texas at Austin website, "Generally a 3 percent weight loss through sweating is considered safe and over a 3 percent weight loss is in the danger zone. Over a  3 percent weight loss the athlete should not be allowed to practice in hot and humid conditions."

Rodriguez said that the procedures will be explained in detail to parents and athletes at coach's meetings when the seasons get under way.

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Joanne August 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I'm not sure how this weighing will help...won't discovering the water loss after practicing be too late?
R. Kincaid August 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I think your bigger problem/issue is the danger to the field hockey athletes who are possibly endangered because of the lack of qualified officials and lack in number of officials run by Lisa Click.
Kym Byrnes (Editor) August 10, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Mr. Rodriguez did say that treating heat related illness properly is very important. If a coach/parent/athlete is aware that a student is dehydrated or overheated (as a result of the weighing process), he/she can ensure the student will rehydrate properly and/or seek medical attention if needed.
jag August 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I think any of our young student athletes participating in any sport during warm/hot weather is at risk. I did not read the guidelines presented at the BOE board meeting, they seem to be pretty extensive, is a move in the right direction. All coaches are to take training to notice the warning signs. But it is going to come down to the kids, they know their bodies and they have to know the warning signs!!! Parents & coaches will need to educate the kids on the warning signs. It is so important in the warm/hot weather to stay hydrated.
L Collette August 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM
At least as the parent of a football player I know that when my son was a younger player ( he's a senior now) he wasn't going to stop playing if felt over heated or sick, he just pushed through. It was their mentality and they didn't want to seem weak to the more veteran players; that is our society. Now that he is more wise he could or would speak up however putting that responsibility on the kids "knowing their bodies..and warning signs" isn't going to work. You can educate all you want but they are still kids and competitiveness still drives them more so than common sense most times. I believe, at least where my son attends school, that his coaching staff is extremely sensitive to making sure our boys stay healthy and hydrated and I'm confident with the new guidelines they won't have any concerns.
wlc August 13, 2012 at 12:04 AM
I can not believe Ginger Kincaid can post that unprofessional comment about Lisa Click. Ginger is a coach at Glen Elg high school and is a poor representation of the coaching staff. i realize change is hard and she is unhappy that their is new leadership of officials however a person that immoral should not be on the field with our children.

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