Heat wave in region leads to online coursesFARGO — The heat wave the region experienced this week left many seeking refuge in pools, lakes and air-conditioned buildings.
By: Tom Mix, The Dickinson Press
FARGO — The heat wave the region experienced this week left many seeking refuge in pools, lakes and air-conditioned buildings.
Beating the heat was the main objective, and that also is the goal of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
The warmer temperatures have provided the NFHS a time-relevant platform to promote its new online course titled, “A Guide to Heat Acclimation and Heat Illness Prevention.” The course, which is free for coaches, trainers and school staff members to watch, provides information designed to minimize the risk of activity-related heat stroke among high school athletes.
With football and other fall sports set to begin practices in about a month combined with much of the nation currently experiencing record heat, NFHS director of coach education Tim Flannery said in a release that the information contained in the course could help save lives.
The course is the latest of four free educational courses produced by the NFHS, which can be accessed online with mobile devices, iPads and other tablets.
“The course is the same idea as the online concussion course they developed a couple years ago,” North Dakota High School Activities Association Assistant to the Executive Secretary Matt Fetsch said. “Anyone can take it, and it’s a great resource for our member schools.”
Fetsch said the course is not mandatory for coaches and officials in North Dakota, but mentioned that the issue was discussed at region administrator meetings statewide last year. Concussion education for coaches and officials is mandatory by state law in North Dakota.
There have been a total of nine days that the high-temperature in Fargo has been above 90 degrees, including four straight days from July 1-4. When the heat index is factored in, the weather has neared potentially hazardous conditions when it comes to prolonged activity outside.
Traditionally, heat exhaustion and heat-related illnesses are at higher risks of occurring in fall activities because practices start in August.
Fargo South activities director Cory Lehman said the issue is always being accounted for to ensure the safety of athletes.
“Normally we are not practicing in the heat of the day,” Lehman said. “We have gone back to the morning practices where we start at 8 a.m. … We shut practices down now between noon and 1 p.m.”
Football operates on two-a-day practices for the first week and a half in North Dakota, and Lehman said South has adopted a more condensed practice schedule for the sport, allowing for both sessions to be conducted mostly in the morning. South’s football practices were from 8-11 a.m. with a three-hour break until the second session, which was conducted in the afternoon heat.
There is still a longer break between sessions, which is lengthened depending on the temperature.
“Really it is one practice,” Lehman said. “The break lasts a half an hour to 45 minutes and there are also 10-minute breaks during the practices … If a kid needs water, they are not saying ‘no’. They are saying ‘go.’”
South’s summer activities including weight and agility training programs are conducted with an on-site trainer from Sanford Health as are all other Fargo Public Schools.