CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina High School League said they have had a policy in place for over a decade that allows referees to call hydration timeouts during a game.
With record temperatures in humidity over the past month, that policy is more important than ever.
As football season kicks off, the SCHSL will spend the rest of the summer monitoring the heat so that players can stay healthy on the field.
"We encourage our officials and schools to take those hydration breaks, and not only does it give those kids a chance to hydrate each quarter, but it gives teams an extra timeout for strategy purposes too." said league official Charlie Wentzky.
With recent record-breaking temperatures, Wentzky said weather is always the hardest thing to predict when it comes to keeping kids safe, especially this time of the year.
"It changes day-to-day, especially in the south," he said. "You know as well as I do you could have a day where it's low 90s and no humidity, and the next day you're going to have 100 degrees and 98 percent humidity. So it's a whole different day."
Conway's athletic director, Marion Shaw, said football has certainly changed since he was a kid, with more rules and regulations, but believes it is all for the greater good.
He said fans will not have to worry about too many breaks slowing down the game.
"They don't stop the game if we're driving the ball down the field, and we're on a third-and-two at the goal and they say, 'OK, we're at the 6-minute mark, everybody stop.' They look for what I call a natural break in the game. I've just punted the ball to you, or somebody just scored, and it's somewhere close to that marker. They look at how the kids are reacting." said Shaw.
Wentzky said all fall sports are watched closely at the beginning of the year, until the heat dies down.
"Football gets a lot of the attention. But our cross country teams and tennis teams and our girls' golf teams that are all outside, they also have a practice plan to help acclimate them to the heat as well," he said. "So we're very mindful of all of our athletes that are outside practicing this time of year."