New guidelines in place for football practices

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For the first time, the South Carolina High School League has set restrictions for pre-season football practices.

The new guidelines were first proposed in 2009 by the Inter-association Task Force for Preseason Secondary School Athletics and are modeled after regulations set by other states and the NFL.

The South Carolina High School League says its main goal is to prevent heat related injuries and death. Heat related issues occur more during preseason because the practices are held during the hottest summer months.

They want to acclimate athletes into the warm weather after they have been spending so much time in air conditioning. The SC High School League created a timeline restricting long practices and type of activity that can be done.

"It's a constant concern, especially with the humidity we have in the area. I think its something that you have to be aware of, especially on those really hot days," explains Coach Mickey Wilson, Myrtle Beach High School Football coach.

Coach Wilson says his team was practicing during the day in order to beat the heat, but has changed that schedule since the students are getting ready to go back to school.

A spokesperson with the South Carolina High School League says that by the time school starts, early afternoon practices are safe because it has started to cool down and the humidity has changed.

"We've been lucky in the preseason. We've had some rainy days, as you know, but they aren't nearly as bad on those days. But when its hot and the heat index is up you definitely have to be aware of what's going on," says Coach Wilson.

He adds, "We want to get them in condition, and want to make them get used to the heat, because they're going to play in it, but at the same time you have to be smart and aware of what's going on with your kids."

Coach Wilson says even before these regulations were put into place, he and his staff always monitored his players well-being. He attributes their health to the qualified athletic trainers.

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