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New course for coaches on practicing in the heat

By: Denny Trease
By: Denny Trease

The deadline is drawing near, but an on-line training program for coaches isn't ready yet.

Kentucky high school coaches are required to take the training, following the death of football player Max Gilpin in Louisville last summer. Coaches now have less than a month to complete the course, but it's not yet available.

When the heat index reaches a hundred degrees or more, even a brisk walk can be downright uncomfortable, especially on a day when the humidity is off the charts like it was in Lexington on Friday. But put on heavy football equipment and start running sprints, and things can turn dangerous.

Jason Howell, head football coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School cautions, "When the heat index is that high, and you're looking at guys in helmets and shoulder pads, you're talking 130 to 140 degrees potentially under those things. It is a dangerous situation."

Howell has already taken special precautions in regard to the summer conditioning program at his school.

"One of the things I requested was to start later in the evening to give kids the opportunity to beat the heat," he said

With that in mind, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association was mandated by law to develop an on-line 4 1/2 hour course to help their coaches keep players safe.

KHSAA spokesman Elden May tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "It's been developed with the help of the Kentucky Medical Association. It's a very tight time line we were given. The legislation was passed in March, and they need something in place by July 15. We're putting the finishing touches on it right now. We know in Kentucky in the summer months you have to do everything you can and take every precaution possible in regard to the heat."

Coach Howell says, "It's education, and I welcome it. I invite it because I need to know more about these things."

But some Kentucky schools including Howell's are already ahead of the game.

The Dunbar coach says, "We've been educating our kids about nutrition and hydration and how to acclimate themselves to the heat prior to coming to practice."

Some schools are requiring all their coaches including assistants to take the course, but at least one person who has been through the program and received certification must be present at each athletic event.


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