Extreme heat pushes back Miss. football game start times for fall season

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Ahead of the new school year, hundreds of high school athletes will be returning from summer break and gearing up for their sports season.

With ongoing heat advisories in effect for portions of the Mid-South, The Mississippi High School Activities Association is making the move to push varsity football games’ start times back.

Fall games will begin at 7:30 p.m. to help players cope with the heat until the end of September.

“We already take heat timeouts one per quarter and our varsity games through September, for this in we felt like this would give a little bit extra to ensure the safety of our student-athletes,” said Ricky Neaves, MHSAA executive director.

Neaves says the MHSAA sports medicine advisory and executive committee decided to make the change only for varsity, since their games are longer and more intense.

In Tennessee, coaches have similar guidelines from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, like limiting practices to an hour if the heat index is above 100 degrees.

In compliance with the guideline, Tipton County School District said in a statement:

“Players weigh in before and after practice. Water and Gatorade are placed around the entire field. Coaches limit the number of times players are in full gear.”

If the heat index is above 100 degrees, the TSSAA regulations require 20-minute rest breaks distributed throughout the hour of practice.

When it comes to getting players through high endurance workouts, a Le Bonheur exercise physiologist recommends focusing on fluids.

“To get yourself in the best position to be successful in your athletic events in the heat, you want to make sure you shell up well hydrated, well fed, and also well rested,” said Webb Smith, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Clinical exercise physiologist.

The Arkansas Activity Association says they allow each school to set its own time for kick-off during the regular season.

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