Athletic trainers cautious with practices and games as temperatures remain high this week

Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 11:38 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - With the extreme heat expected this week, athletic trainers across the Valley are keeping a close eye on weather conditions when making decisions on practice and game schedules.

Head athletic trainer for Sentara RMH, Scott Powers said their main goal is prevention.

One prevention measure is weight monitoring athletes.

“We’ll monitor an athlete’s weight before they go to practice, outside and when they return, we can measure how much weight and fluid they’re losing and make sure that they recover between practices to keep them safe,” Powers said.

They also use a kestrel tool to monitor field conditions.

”This factors in the temperature, humidity and wind and gives us a reading based on that reading we can control the time of practice, we can control how many water breaks, the amount of equipment that is worn those type of things to make practice as safe as possible,” Powers said.

If a heat illness does occur, Powers said they treat the athlete with cold water emersion.

“Every high school has kestrel, every high school has water emersion tanks set up this time of year, we’re prepared to take whatever the weather may throw at us, but priority is to prevent it,” he said.

Powers said part of prevention is making sure coaches, parents and administrators are informed.

“This week I know a lot of schools are going to practice in the morning because it is cooler because the temperature is staying high late into the evenings,” he said.

Powers said these protocols go for practices and games.

“Watching some high school games may be like watching college games where they have TV timeouts, where we’re going to have water timeouts, official water timeouts just to make sure the kids remove their helmets, get something to drink and make sure that everyone stays safe,” Powers said.