GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With temperatures reaching up into the 90s over the next few days, it’s prompting concern for high school athletes playing on the field.
Administrators are already making changes because of the heat, either canceling games and practices or delaying the start time.
Kelloggsville and Grant will delay their football game an hour Thursday. It will start at 8 p.m., as will the game against Plainwell and Hamilton.
West Catholic and Edwardsburg have moved their game back a day and will now play Friday at 7 p.m. instead of Thursday.
Those who haven’t made changes yet will use a wet bulb thermometer or psychrometer to determine the heat and humidity and check the temperature on the turf.
“Generally, there will be somebody on site, an administrator or a game manager, that will be keeping track of the heat index,” Geoff Kimmerly, communications director for the Michigan Athletic High School Association, said. “They will be keeping track of those measurements.”
According to the MHSAA, if the heat index is below 95 degrees, athletes wist need to be monitored carefully.
If the heat index is 95 degrees to 99 degrees, players’ helmets should be removed when not playing on the field, plus optional breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes at a time.
If the heat index is between 99 degrees to 104 degrees, water breaks will become mandatory and time outdoors should be reduced.
Officials should suspend practice and games immediately if helmets or other protective equipment are required during a game or practice. It can resume when the index is 99 degrees or below.
Games and practices should be suspended if the heat index is above 104 degrees.
Staying hydrated isn’t just a message for those on the field but those on the stands.
“If you’re not going to be running up and down the field, you’re still going to be sitting in the sun for an hour or so. I would get hydrated now. I would start getting myself ready to be out in those temperatures again by 7 p.m.,” Kimmerly said.