As Dallas ISD football programs welcome their student-athletes back onto the field, the district’s coaches and athletic training staff are working together to ensure student-athlete safety is a priority during the often soaring summer temperatures.
Heat illness is the leading cause of preventable illness in high school athletics. And high-intensity outdoor sports during the summer months poses the greatest risk for these heat-related issues.
The Dallas ISD Athletics department has placed licensed athletic trainers (LAT) at each of the district’s comprehensive high schools to monitor the health and safety of the district’s estimated 10,000 student-athletes. A $3 million proposal approved by the district’s Board of Trustees in 2013 funded the athletic trainers.
The LATs have the ability to add water breaks at practices, call off practices due to extreme conditions, or recommend lighter practice gear during a workout session. In addition, the University Interscholastic League and the National Federation of State High School Associations have disallowed practices to take place between noon and 6 p.m. during the first two weeks of the high school football training season.
In addition, LATs and coaches are educated on signs and symptoms of heat-related illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.