When high school athletes hit the practice fields in a month, there will be standard guidelines on how workouts should be held in the heat and humidity of August.
Under a state law that took effect July 1, all of Maryland’s school districts must have policies in place to help athletes acclimate to oppressive heat, limit the duration of practices and mandate other training and emergency procedures. A committee that included doctors, health-policy specialists, coaches and trainers assembled the guidelines.
While most counties have had some sort of standard for many years, a uniform mandate is essential to assure consistent practices, and safety, statewide. Heat can be deadly, even for peak-performing athletes. These new guides were overdue — and they stress the importance of education and vigilance on many levels, from parents to students to trainers. They also should be a model for other pre-season physical activities in hot weather, such as marching-band practice.