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."
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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.