Column: As prep practices begin, a few items to keep in mind


Mark Huber - On The Mark



Here are a few tidbits of information from Tim Stried, director of communications with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. These items are good for players, coaches and parents.

• The first day of competition among fall sports can be Friday when golfers are permitted to officially begin their season.

• With football still in the midst of two-a-days conditioning sessions, there are some notes regarding contact when it begins on Saturday. Contact with soft equipment such as bags, shields, sleds, etc., does not count toward contact limitations.

• Full contact is limited during two-a-day practices. When more than one practice takes place in a day, full contact is permitted only during one of the practices. With the importance of recovery time to help minimize concussion risks, consideration should also be given to the timing of full contact during the next day (i.e. if full contact occurs during session 2 of two‐a‐days, there should not be full contact in session 1 of two‐a‐days the following day).

• For practices during the season (after the first regular‐season game):

1. A student‐athlete is limited to 30 minutes of full contact in practice per day.

2. A student‐athlete is limited to 60 minutes of full contact in practice per week.

3. A student‐athlete can be involved in full contact in a maximum of two practices in a seven‐day span.

The OHSAA suggests limiting full‐contact on consecutive days, but it is not yet a mandatory rule.

• Once again this fall, the OHSAA is promoting a soccer initiative called “Friday Night Futbol” on on Aug. 18. High school football does not begin until the following week and the OHSAA encourages schools will make the “first Friday night” of the fall sports season and the 2017-18 school year a dedication to high school soccer. Halftime is permitted to be extended to 15 minutes so that high school bands can unveil their new halftime performances. Additional information was sent to schools this past spring and more will be forthcoming – including a great partnership with the Columbus Crew SC that will provide incentives to schools participating. There is no charge and no application – just an effort to promote one of the continually growing sports in the state.

• On a non-fall sports note, the month of August is a no-contact period for coaches in the sports of basketball, softball, baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse.

• With the start of fall sports, schools are reminded to know the OHSAA’s inclement weather policy, which states that all outdoor activity must be halted for 30 minutes if lightning is seen or thunder is heard. Check out the complete policy at: http://www.ohsaa.org/sports/inclementweatherpolicy.

This is troubling for some when lighting is seen far away from the game site. I get the reason, and do not have expert knowledge in meteorology but I scratch my head as a game is delayed by lightning that seems to be a too far away to have any impact on the game in question.

Honestly, it’s a selfish thing on my part with a deadline looming and the end of the game nowhere in sight. I certainly have no desire to be struck by lightning.

• The OHSAA Heat Illness Policy is as follows:

This procedure is to be used until such time as the temperature is below 84 degrees as no combination of heat and humidity at that level will result in a need to curtail activity.

1. Thirty minutes prior to the start of activity, temperature and humidity readings should be taken at the site.

2. The temperature and humidity should be factored into the Heat Index Calculation and Chart and a determination made as to the Heat Index. If schools are utilizing a digital sling psychrometer that calculates the Heat Index, that number may be used to apply to the table.

3. If a reading is determined whereby activity is to be decreased (above 95 degrees Heat Index), then rereadings would be required every thirty minutes to determine if further activity should be eliminated or preventative steps taken, or if an increased level of activity can resume.

4. Using the following table, activity should be altered and/or eliminated based on this Heat Index as determined:

Under 95 degrees Heat Index:

• Optional water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration to allow hydration as a group.

• Have towels with ice for cooling of athletes as needed.

• Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

• Re-check temperature and humidity every 30 minutes if temperature rises in order to monitor for increased Heat Index.

95 degrees to 99 degrees Heat Index:

• Water shall always be available and athletes shall be able to take in as much water as they desire.

• Mandatory water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration to allow for hydration as a group.

• Have towels with ice for cooling of athletes as needed.

• Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

• Helmets and other equipment should be removed when athlete not directly involved with competition, drill or practice and it is not otherwise required by rule.

Notes: Reduce time of outside activity. Consider postponing practice to later in the day. Re-check temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index.

100 degrees (above 99 degrees) to 104 degrees Heat Index:

• Water shall always be available and athletes shall be able to take in as much water as they desire.

• Mandatory water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration to allow hydration as a group.

• Have towels with ice for cooling of athletes as needed.

• Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

• Alter uniform by removing items if possible and permissible by rules.

• Allow athletes to change to dry shirts and shorts at defined intervals.

• Reduce time of outside activity as well as indoor activity if air conditioning is unavailable.

• Postpone practice to later in day.

• If helmets or other protective requirement are required to be worn by rule or normal practice, suspend practice or competition immediately.

Note: Re-check temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for changes in Heat Index.

Above 104 degrees Heat Index:

• Stop all outside activity in practice and/or play, and stop all inside activity if air conditioning is unavailable.

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Mark Huber

On The Mark

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@aimmedianetwork.com or on Twitter @wnjsports

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email mhuber@aimmedianetwork.com or on Twitter @wnjsports