As Georgia’s temperature begins to rise in the summer, the Georgia High School Association continues to enforce its statewide policy to ensure players are safe during times of extreme heat and humidity.
The GHSA Practice Policy for Heat and Humidity focuses on the practice schedules, workout time and allocated time for rest and hydration, and potential practice termination at differing heat/humidity levels. It is signed by each head coach at the beginning of the season and is distributed to all players and their parents and/or guardians.
Schools must follow the policy year-round, establishing safety precautions for student athletes. An instrument that measures the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) must be utilized at each practice, prior to Oct. 1, to ensure all rules are followed.
For all sports, regular activities are permitted when the temperature is under 82 degrees. However, it is still necessary to give athletes three rest breaks per hour, each of which must last at least 3 minutes. Between 90 and 92 degrees, the allowed practice time is one hour.
No outdoor workouts are permitted when the temperature is over 92 degrees. WBGT readings should be taken every hour, beginning 30 minutes before the beginning of practice
Additionally for football, when the temperature reads between 87 and 89.9 degrees, players are restricted to helmet, shoulder pads, and shorts during practice, and all protective equipment must be removed during conditioning activities.
From 90 to 92 degrees, no protective equipment may be worn during practice, and there may be no conditioning activities. With any temperature above 92, no outdoor workouts are permitted.
Football follows set measures for acclimatization and re-acclimatization. Practice may begin five consecutive days after the season’s official start date, but it may only last two hours. Except for a helmet and mouthpiece, football players are not permitted to wear protective gear. Teams can participate in walk-throughs as long as a three-hour break is scheduled between the two activities. Neither full-speed drills nor protective gear may be used during a walk-through. Any athlete who misses five consecutive days of practice must follow re-acclimation measures, increasing allowed time spent at practice and protective equipment over the course of five days.
Activity and rest breaks are established based on outside temperatures. Additionally, guidance is provided regarding types of equipment and gear athletes wear when certain temperature thresholds are met.
The GHSA encourages all coaches and players to train while maintaining safety precautions.