IN THE PAST 15 YEARS...THE NUMBER OF HEAT-RELATED DEATHS FOR HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYERS HAS TRIPLED.
NEARLY 3-PLAYERS DIE EACH YEAR BECAUSE OF THE HEAT.
BUT A NEW POLICY IN GEORGIA COULD KEEP ATHLETES SAFE ON THE GRIDIRON THIS SEASON.
In the past 15 years, the number of heat-related deaths for high school football players has tripled. Nearly three players die each year because of the heat, but a new policy in Georgia could keep athletes safe on the gridiron this season.
Georgia has had more heat-related deaths the past 15 years than any other state.
"I've seen it 105...108 heat index," Seminole County head coach Alan Ingram said.
And that's why the Georgia High School Association passed new regulations regarding football practice. These rules are in place after two players died in Georgia last August.
"The utmost thing is the safety of these kids. We're going to try to keep them as safe as possible," Early County head coach Trey Woolf said.
"I've been in this business for 40 years and I've always said if it gets too hot for me, it's too hot for the kids," Ingram said.
Here are the changes you'll see: the ban of thfree a day pre season practices. Two-a-day practices can't be on consecutive days. Also, coaches must use a new wet bulb thermometer to keep track of things like air temperature, radiant temperature and humidity.
"It takes those four components and it comes out with a reading and if it gets too high a reading then there's no practice," Ingram said.
But for coach Woolf and coach Ingram, their practices won't really be affected.
"We've done a lot of the things that we're going to require us to do," Woolf said.
"We practice with a water cooler in the huddle and we huddle around it. Water's available to kids all the time," Ingram said.
"The biggest difference in this is we were able to set our own guidelines, but now they're giving us the guidelines so it will be interesting to see how it all works out," Woolf said.
They just hope these new rules prevent any further deaths from occuring.
"Safety has got to come first so I agree with the changes," Ingram said.
"It's been very unfortunate what's happened so we're going to do everything we can, I'm sure everybody in the state will, to try to protect these kids," Woolf said.
The new guidelines require that the first week of practice consist of single-practice days with sessions no longer than two hours with helmets only.
During the second week, a two-a-day must now be followed by a single-practice day or a complete day off.
Teams must be given at least three hours of rest between sessions on a double-practice day and two-a-day sessions cannot exceed a total of five hours of practice time.