It’s back to school time for students of all ages, and with this comes numerous extracurricular activities. Some of the most popular activities are sports, both competitive and intramural. When it comes to sports, an athlete, fan, or coach also has to pay attention to something else: the weather.
Most schools have divided their sports based on the season of the year: fall, winter, and spring. While they do not quite meet up with the meteorological or astronomical definition of the season, each sport has to deal with its own threat. For example, many high school and college football teams play in the fall, but they practice throughout their summer breaks. As a result, teams have to contend with the heat. Players have to worry about heat exhaustion and heat stroke, along with learning how their coaches want to play.
Some school districts will take practices indoors when the heat index is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, for some sports, such as football, this only applies to practices and not during season games. Even when the practices are indoors for football, teams may not be able to practice as per standards because of the size of the program and lack of proper equipment within their facilities.
So, fall teams have to deal with the dog days of summer, but they also have to deal with the first taste of winter. As the season comes to a close, some teams will be playing in sleet and cold conditions. Now, players have to worry about hypothermia and finding ways to stay loose and limber. Some teams will be lucky enough to play indoors due to how their sport is played, but some, like football, will not be as lucky.
These weather changes occur quickly as well, so players have to worry about becoming ill Most winter sports are indoors, but for those who play in the spring, they have to contend with the same issues as the fall sports. Spring sports have to deal with the transitions that the fall sees, only in reverse order. Winter still can hold a grasp at the beginning, but towards the end, the first rays of summer can cause the same issues.
So, as athletes practice for their sport, how can they stay safe in various weather conditions? For the heat, the Center for Disease Prevention states that practices should be taking place during the cooler parts of the day, and longer breaks should be taken. They also recommend that heavy clothing should be limited in usage because of the heat.
As for the cold weather, athletes should dress in layers and should watch out for hazards like ice. Extremities should not be excluded when dressing up in layers because these areas are the first to experience frostbite. Athletes should also drink plenty of fluids despite not realizing the importance of remaining hydrated during the colder and warmer months equally.
While the weather poses its threats to sports throughout the school year, coaches, athletes, and spectators alike will enjoy them. Best of luck this sports season, and remember to watch the weather before playing.
To look at more articles about weather safety, be sure to go to https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/weather-safety-educational-topics .
©2019 Weather Forecaster Shannon Sullivan