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We trust that the preseason period for fall athletics and the start of the 2007-2008 school year have been going well and will continue to do so.
Dr. Diane Frost, superintendent of the Asheboro City Schools and president of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors for this year, has asked us to contact the membership and thank you for your outstanding response to the challenges posed by the extreme and prolonged heat we have faced thus far this month.
Many school systems issued temporary policies to prohibit practice during certain hours, scrimmages were postponed or moved to cooler times of the day, and practices were altered. The safety of the student-athletes, as it should be, remained the prime focus.
We just want to remind the NCHSAA membership that the dangers of heat, however, are certainly not over and definitely are not limited just to football. The heat and humidity guidelines found on page 49 in the current edition of the Handbook are primarily associated with football, but should be applied for any sport that is practicing in hot weather.
We have been made aware of athletes who have been affected by the extreme heat in a number of sports, including soccer and tennis. One trainer has informed us that the temperature on the surface of their tennis courts was a full 30 degrees higher than the regular air temperature, which could create a dangerous situation.
With this in mind:
• continue to monitor the heat and humidity carefully and always err on the side of caution in terms of shortening practices or arranging practice schedules where possible
• remember that the heat and humidity guidelines are for all sports
• watch carefully those athletes who might be more susceptible to the heat
• hydration of athletes is of vital importance and cannot be limited to just during practice. Hydration for today’s practice actually in many ways is a function of fluid intake the night before.
• one of our corporate sponsors, Gatorade, has an excellent web site with lots of information about hydration that can be found at www.gatorade.com/hydration. For instance, did you know that dehydration can actually impair performance when the body fluid level falls below 98% of normal?
Thank you for the great job you do and we will always strive to provide as safe an environment as possible for the student-athletes of North Carolina.