Kuemmel's Corner: Trying to beat the heat
I don’t know which is worse, the heat or the humidity.
We have had warm weather during our fall two-a-days practices in the past, but in the 11 years I have been doing this job, never have we had to adjust games because of the heat. Last week the heat index was regularly in the 100’s.
The Minnesota State High School League has a heat index chart that is used to determine the safety of practicing or competing in the heat. I spent A LOT of time last week studying this chart. We made many accommodations last week to keep our student-athletes safe. Many practices were shortened or moved later in the evening once the sun went down. Our football team often practiced without pads to keep kids cooler. Unfortunately, we do not have air conditioning in our main gym or activity center, so we could not move any practices indoors (I think the heat index in the activity center might have been higher than the heat index outdoors!).
We cancelled a volleyball scrimmage that was scheduled in our activity center, but only one game had to be cancelled (JV boys soccer) last week. A girls tennis match was postponed to later next week. We changed the start times of many of our contests to play later in the evening as well, including our season-opening football game on Thursday night. It really made a difference staring later in the evening, especially once the sun went down.
Throughout the week, our coaches keep a close eye on their athletes to make sure they were hydrating properly. Our athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach also worked with the athletes to make sure they were taking care of their bodies. I heard from area athletic directors who told me that many of their football players were cramping up during Thursday night’s games. We did not have a lot of that, which says a lot about the work that our staff did during the week preparing our athletes for the heat.
We did the best we could to survive the heat last week. As badly as we wanted to practice or play games last week, the safety of our student-athletes was always our number one priority.
I hope more “fall-like” temperatures will come with the start of school.