Story by Anjali McDaniel
High school athletes practice daily in the burning heat to improve themselves in their sport. South Carolina has enforced new regulations that prevent sports players from practicing in too much heat and humidity. The new technology coaches use to determine this is called a wet bulb.
“We have a wet bulb that measures heat and humidity, and it gives us guidelines for what we can and can’t do in a practice. For about a week and a half, before Florence hit, we were having to delay practice until 5 o’clock because the wet bulb reading it was too hot. We came into the athletic building and we did football related stuff, and one day we just gave them a study hall, so that they wouldn’t have to do their homework after practice. It’s for safety reasons. We don’t want lose anyone to heat-related issues. We’re trying to take care of the young people,” said Dutch Fork High School football coach Tom Knotts.
Dutch Fork football players are experiencing these new regulations first hand. They are having to change their schedules and come up with new routines to handle school, homework, and football.
“These new rules have been both good and bad because now Coach Knotts gives us time to do our homework because us getting home late, it’s hard to do our homework, so that delays is good and we get to spend time with the team and it helps us bond. It’s harder because we don’t get to see our families as much because practice ends later now,” junior Ronald Hoff said.
Athletes aren’t the only people affected by this. The parents of football players are also dealing with the new changes.
“My older son drives, so it doesn’t affect me as much with changing my schedule, but it does affect us with our younger son when the high school and the middle school practices don’t end at the same time because then we do have to change our schedule,” math teacher Enevelyn Hyatt said.
Even though this regulation poses new challenges for athletes, coaches, and their families, the main goal of it is to protect everyone from different health threats and to make sure our athletes maintain their skills, so that they’re ready for their game and perform their best.
“It could be a bad situation for some teams,” Knotts said, “how you handle the weather could affect your season. So far, we seem to have handled it pretty good, so I’m happy with that.”