How student athletes are handling the heat

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – This summer has been setting records for heat and heat indexes this year. With such high temperatures and humid conditions, everyone is doing their best to stay cool. Student athletes are one group of individuals who are at especially high risk for heat exhaustion.

We spoke with the head football coach of Bowling Green High School about what their program is doing to ensure students are safe, and coach Mark Spader assured us that they are meeting the Kentucky High School Athletics Assocation’s guidelines.

Spader broke down how the restrictions on practice and play for us by sounding off the boundaries for equipment worn during practice, saying that “if the heat index is 104, you cannot take the field. Between 103 and 99 you can’t wear a helmet, and under 95 you can add as much equipment as you want.”

Spader said he checks the weather every day and even uses a handheld device to measure temperature on the field along with receiving counsel from an athletic trainer with medical experience.

Spader also stated that in his days of attending high school it was seen as “taboo to have water at practice”, that water breaks made you “weak” and less of a player but the coach is of a different mind set. Spader said that even when the temperature isn’t reaching dangerous levels he allows the players unlimited water as practice.