Hot weather a concern as practices loom

First Posted: 7/30/2010

LUMBERTON Even though Monday brings the excitement of beginning football practices for the area high school teams, it also brings concerns about the heat and humidity.
The early weather forecasts calls for temperatures to reach the mid-90s, for this reason Robeson County athletic director Ronnie Chavis is looking at issuing guidelines to the county coaches.
I would like for them to practice early in the morning or late in the afternoon, Chavis said. The coaching staffs need to keep an eye on the temperature. And with the temperature being that high, the coaching staffs need to make sure their kids get water anytime they want it.
Chavis added he is not going to take the approach Charlotte-Mecklenburg County athletics director Vicki Hamilton did by mandating practices be held during a certain part of the day. Hamilton called for no practices be allowed between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Cumberland County athletics director Leon Mack, like Chavis, will not mandate practices be held at certain times of the day, but is hoping coaches schedule early practices.
We issued a summer directive that if the heat index was 100-plus that all activities cease, Mack said. We are encouraging morning workouts whenever possible. We dont want to push practices back into the evening because there are so many variables, like afternoon thunderstorms.
To help his coaches and athletic directors keep an eye on the typically hot August weather, Mack purchased stopwatches which display the temperature, humidity and heat index to be distributed to all of his schools.
We are giving them to all of the first responders and athletic trainers, Mack said of the stopwatches. I feel comfortable with the athletic directors keeping an eye on the student-athletes and the coaches.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association passed a set of rules regarding the opening days of football practice.
Each player must have six days of conditioning before beginning contact drills, then nine days of practice before scrimmaging or playing against outside competition.
During the opening three days, players will be dressed in helmets, shorts, jerseys and football shoes. They can throw, kick, run and hit blocking dummies or push football sleds, but any kind of physical contact with another player is prohibited until day seven.

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