2013-08-08 / Sports

MHSAA addresses heat and hydration

EAST LANSING – With the beginning of a new year for high school sports on the onset, members of the Michigan High School Athletic Association have been preparing to follow a new model policy for hot weather activity, guided by a new publication and a rules meeting emphasis on heat and hydration.

The MHSAA Representative Council adopted a Model Policy for Managing Heat and Humidity earlier this year, a plan many schools have since adopted at the local level. The plan directs schools to begin monitoring the heat index at the activity site once the air temperature reaches 80 degrees, and provides recommendations when the heat index reaches certain points, including ceasing activities when it rises above 104 degrees.

The model policy is outlined in a number of places, including a new publication called Heat Ways, which is available for download from the MHSAA Website. The topic of heat-related injuries receives a lot of attention at this time of year, especially when deaths at the professional, collegiate and interscholastic levels of sport occur, and especially since they are preventable in most cases with the proper precautions. In football, data from the National Federation of State High School Associations shows that 41 high school players have died from heat stroke between 1995 and 2012.

Even before the days of the Internet, the MHSAA held a leadership role in providing resources each Spring to assist schools in their preparation for hot pre-season practices. In addition to the information now contained in Heat Ways, the Association is making dealing with heat, hydration and acclimatization the topic for its required pre-season rules meetings for coaches and officials. The 15-minute online presentation spends a fair amount of time talking about the need for good hydration in sports, regardless of the activity or time of year.

Visit MHSAA.com for more information.

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