In context: Summer heat is always a concern for parents of student athletes and this update from Atrium Health Floyd shows why. Last summer, a Pepperell Middle school football player fainted and later was hospitalized for a night; his survival is credited in part to quick action by atheltics trainer Hope Horne. The youth was one of five student-athletes who became ill that day from the heat, all eventually assisted by Horne.
Media release: Each year, Atrium Health Floyd provides more than 37,000 hours of athletic training to more than 3,000 student athletes in our community, at no cost to the schools, the students or their families.
One of those athletic trainers is Hope Horne, a licensed Athletic Trainer serving at Pepperell High School.
One day this past summer, Hope was working with the high school football team when a middle school coach from a nearby field ran over to her. A middle school student athlete had fainted on the field. Hope assessed the young athlete, found him to be in and out of consciousness and confirmed that he was in danger.
Hope quickly took action. She called 911 and arranged for the student to be brought to the high school fieldhouse and quickly put him in an ice bath she already had prepared. When EMTs arrived, the student was unconscious. He was taken to the Atrium Health Floyd Emergency Care Center where he was treated, then transported to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta for further treatment. The student lost consciousness for more than six hours before regaining consciousness.
He was discharged the next morning with his care team pointing out that if Hope had not acted so quickly and been prepared to cool the young athlete’s overheated body, he may not have survived.
During that practice, a total of five middle school students became ill from the heat. Hope was there to help all of them. And, she and our other ATCs provided an education program for all middle and high school coaches on how to detect symptoms of heat-related illness and how to respond, and the coaches and ATCs are working together to develop a plan to have ice baths at middle school fields when extreme heat is expected in the future.
Hope was recognized by the Floyd County Board of Education for her efforts.
Georgia High School Association heat guidelines:
2.67 Practice Policy for Heat and Humidity:
(a) Schools must follow the statewide policy for conducting practices and voluntary conditioning workouts (this policy is yearround, including during the summer) in all sports during times of extremely high heat and/or humidity that will be signed
by each head coach at the beginning of each season and distributed to all players and their parents or guardians. The
policy shall follow modified guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine in regard to:
(1) The scheduling of practices at various heat/humidity levels.
(2) The ratio of workout time to time allotted for rest and hydration at various heat/humidity levels.
(3) The heat/humidity levels that will result in practice being terminated.
(b) A scientifically-approved instrument that measures the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature must be utilized at each practice to
ensure that the written policy is being followed properly. WBGT readings should be taken every hour, beginning 30 minutes
before the beginning of practice.
WBGT ACTIVITY GUIDELINES AND REST BREAK GUIDELINES
Under 82.0 Normal Activities – Provide at least three separate rest breaks each hour with a minimum
duration of 3 minutes each during the workout.
82.0 – 86.9 Use discretion for intense or prolonged exercise; watch at-risk players carefully. Provide at least three separate rest
breaks each hour with a minimum duration of 4 minutes each.
87.0 – 89.9 Maximum practice time is 2 hours. For Football: players are restricted to helmet, shoulder
pads, and shorts during practice, and all protective equipment must be removed during
conditioning activities. If the WBGT rises to this level during practice, players may continue to work out wearing
football pants without changing to shorts. For All Sports: Provide at least four separate rest breaks each hour with a
minimum duration of 4 minutes each.
90.0 – 92.0 Maximum practice time is 1 hour. For Football: no protective equipment may be worn during
practice, and there may be no conditioning activities. For All Sports: There must be 20 minutes
of rest breaks distributed throughout the hour of practice.
Over 92.0 No outdoor workouts. Delay practice until a cooler WBGT level is reached.
(c) Practices are defined as: the period of time that a participant engages in a coach-supervised, school-approved sport or
conditioning-related activity. Practices are timed from the time the players report to the practice or workout area until
players leave that area. If a practice is interrupted for a weather-related reason, the “clock” on that practice will stop and
will begin again when the practice resumes.
(d) Conditioning activities include such things as weight training, wind-sprints, timed runs for distance, etc., and may be a part
of the practice time or included in “voluntary workouts.”
(e) A walk-through is not a part of the practice time regulation, and may last no longer than one hour. This activity may not
include conditioning activities or contact drills. No protective equipment may be worn during a walk-through, and no fullspeed drills may be held.
(f) Rest breaks may not be combined with any other type of activity and players must be given unlimited access to hydration.
These breaks must be held in a “cool zone” where players are out of direct sunlight.
(g) When the WBGT reading is over 86, ice towels and spray bottles filled with ice water should be available at the “cool zone”
to aid the cooling process AND cold immersion tubs must be available for the benefit of any player showing early signs of
heat illness. In the event of a serious EHI, the principle of “Cool First, Transport Second” should be utilized and
implemented by the first medical provider onsite until cooling is completed (core temperature of 103 or less).