High school athletes in Illinois will be playing under new heat safety guidelines for the postseason beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.
According to the IHSA website, the policy was created by the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and applies only to regionals, sectionals, super-sectionals, state finals and football playoffs.
The policy is built upon Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) readings, which takes into account factors such as humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover, in addition to air temperature, and is considered the most effective way of judging dangerous conditions by the Korey Stringer Institute and other industry experts.
As the WBGT rises, the policy builds in different types of safety measures. The website gives the following example: at a WBGT range of 80.0-84.5 degrees Fahrenheit, hosts would provide “cooling stations using methods such as ice towels”, while a WBGT range of 87.6-89.9 degrees Fahrenheit would require four separate four-minute water breaks within an hour of competition. At a WBGT of 90, all events would be postponed to a cooler time of day or the next applicable day.
A series of interactive webinars to help educate coaches and administrators on the policy will take place over the fall.