Athletic Trainers & Heat-Related Illness Safety

football player with water

An Athletic Trainer is a highly educated and skilled health sciences professional specializing in athletic health care. Those skills include the management, prevention, and recovery of injured athletes. Additional skills and education occur in emergency response, concussion management, sideline coverage, communication with the local community, school administration and parents, environmental and hydration awareness - as well as psychological support.

From July through September, environmental conditions must be monitored to modify a practice or game in the event of extreme weather conditions; specifically heat. Our Athletic Trainers use a device to measure the specific site Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index (WBGTi). Military agencies, OSHA, activities associations (Georgia High School Association), and many others use the WBGTi as a guide to manage workload/activity levels. It is more sophisticated than a measurement for Heat Index (HI).

  • HI (apparent temperature) is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity to get a human-perceived equivalent temperature or how it would feel in the outdoor environment.
  • WBGTi is a measurement of heat stress in direct sunlight; air temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover (solar radiation). Depending on the heat stress measurement number, modifications are to take place.

During BCSS outdoor activity, our Athletic Trainers constantly monitor the weather and communicate directly to the school administration and coaching staff. Modifications take place based on the WBGTi measurement. This video explains:

WBGTi Guidelines and Modifications – Practice/Conditioning

Under 82.0 Green Flag; Normal activities - Provide at least 3 separate rest breaks each hour of minimum duration of 3 minutes each during workout.

82.0 - 86.9 Yellow Flag; Use discretion for intense or prolonged exercise - Watch at-risk players carefully and provide at least 3 separate rest breaks each hour of a minimum of 4 minutes duration each.

87.0 - 89.9 Orange Flag; Maximum practice time is 2 hours - For Football, players are restricted to helmet, shoulder pads, and shorts during practice. All protective equipment must be removed for conditioning activities. For all sports, provide at least 4 separate rest breaks each hour of a minimum of 4 minutes each.

90.0 - 92.0 Red Flag; Maximum length of walk-through is 1 hour, no protective equipment may be worn and there may be no conditioning activities - There must be 20-minutes of rest breaks provided during the hour of practice (i.e., 20 minutes of walk-through activity, then 20 minutes of rest break, then 20 minutes of walk-through activity).

Over 92.1 Black Flag; No outdoor workouts - Cancel exercise, delay practices, walk-throughs and activities until a cooler WBGTi reading occurs.


Thank you to our Athletic Trainers - Lance McNamara and Emily Paul

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