High school coaches amending practice schedules to beat scorching heat

Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 6:24 PM CDT
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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (KCTV) - Under the scorching hot sun with heat indices pushing well over 100 degrees practicing outdoor sports can be dangerous, especially for soccer or football.

“The word I can think of is miserable, it’s very miserable,” said Jamar Mozee, head football coach at Lee’s Summit North. “It’s not necessarily a fun experience putting on pads and practicing on that temperature.”

That’s why Mozee said the Broncos are adjusting their practice schedules.

“Start a bit later and hopefully allow it to kind of calm down out there heat wise and then we’ll go out. We won’t wear any pads, we probably won’t wear a helmet either,” said Mozee, “so we’re really going to have to be mature this week, do a lot of walking through, a lot of slower tempo things to adjust to the heat just to make sure everyone is OK.”

The high school’s athletic director has been checking the temperatures out on the turf throughout the day to make sure it’s safe for athletes to practice on.

“We don’t practice on old-school grass anymore. We practice on turf and that turf holds, it may be 15-20 degrees hotter on that turf. So, it makes it even hotter outside,” explained Mozee.

Each school has a different policy in place when it comes to modifying high school outdoor activities. That’s based on a wet bulb globe temperature.

For Missouri schools, a reading of 92 and above means all outdoor workouts are canceled or delayed, while in Kansas it only takes a reading of 89.8.

“Some will probably say that, ‘coach, let’s go out there and get it’, and I’m like no, super cautious. Some will say that, some will say ‘Alright coach, let’s stay inside because it’s really hot.’”

KCTV5 reached out to other school districts to find out what their plans are for student-athletes – KCPS canceled all outdoor activities Monday, and practice had to be held indoors. For the Shawnee Mission School District temperatures or a heat index that reaches 100 degrees means no activity in the sun.

Mozee said with a heat wave like this, it’s vital to remind players to stay hydrated. 

“Just drink water, drink, drink, drink. Kids have a hard time with that, adults have a hard time with that,” Mozee said. “We find all types of substitutions for just drinking water, and water is the most important thing you need.”