Sugar Beet staff reporter
With fall sports comes hot weather, and in some cases this could be a burning problem. The National Center of Catastrophic Sports Injury Research has reports that show between the years of 1995 and 2014, 42 high school football players died of exertional heatstroke (EHS) along with other numerous incidents ultimately ending in the hospital. In order to help prevent this, the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), implemented the Heat Acclimatization Program (HAP) for the 2018 fall sports season.
The HAP is essentially a program designed to minimize the risk and amount of heat related illnesses. In the program itself, the main rule that will impact a variety of sports is the amount of practices allowed in a single day in how frequent practices occur. Practices permitted will depend solely on the day. The first five days of season, only one, three-hour practice a day is permitted. Every day after the sixth day of the season, two practices for a combined total of five hours may occur every other day to allow a short day to fall in between.
“For us the biggest effect has been on obviously football, cross country and volleyball,” Drew Thon, athletic director, said. “All of those sports are used to doing two-a-days and multiple sessions.”
Not only is practice time limited for all fall sports, the type of practices that can occur are being limited for the football program. KSHSAA is limiting football programs across the state to what types of practices can take place. On day one and two of practice only helmets are allowed, on days three and four helmets and shoulders pads are allowed and lastly on day five a full contact is allowed.
“I noticed that on the first few days of practice we did less contact for what seem for a longer time and was more strict,” Lane Durst, varsity football player, said.
Despite practices being scheduled a whole new way this year, it is easy to see the ultimate reason and the benefits of this program.
“The safety of the kids has gotta be the number one thing we’re after for here,” Brian Hill, head football coach, said.
As the new HAP slowly becomes routine for fall sports, it’s only a waiting game to see what KSHSAA’s next move is.
Karly Larson is a trade and health junior. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.