HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - High school football coaches statewide are having to add another adjustment to their playbook.
Beginning this season, coaches and trainers are required to monitor the Wet Bulb Globe temperature during practices and games. Should that temperature be too hot, practices could be canceled and game could be delayed.
The Wet Bulb Globe temperature monitor measures a number of heat-related variables that impact the human body.
Along with the temperature, the device measures humidity, wind speed, and sun angle versus cloud cover.
Trainers will monitors the device and document the readings every 30 minutes. If it shows a reading between 90 and 92, practice is limited to one hour, with no protective equipment and no conditioning activities.
If it reads over 92, there can be no outdoor workouts and practice is suspended until it cools off.
Roger Dixon, athletic assistant with Horry County Schools, said there have been some bumps along the road but ultimately everyone agrees the new device is in the best interest of the players.
"In late June we got the requirement for the device to be utilized, so now it's just about coming up with proper procedures," Dixon said. "Horry County has been more proactive than other counties but it's just about getting everyone on the same page."
Andrea Sulewski-Owens, head trainer at Myrtle Beach High School, said communication between training staff and coaches must be heightened to prepare for especially hot days.
"We read the measurements every 30 minutes and then tell Coach Wilson, 'Hey you're running hot; this is how much time you have left,'" Sulewski-Owens said. "We're trying to avoid heat-related illnesses and it's definitely a situation where time is of the essence."
Head coach Mickey Wilson said ultimately the new device is protecting players.
"As a coach you want to do anything you can to keep your players safe," Wilson said. "Players' safety comes first and living in the South and coaching football down here, we have some extremely hot days. Anytime you have new technology that can help you regulate when your kids are on the field and when it's safe, I think it's a good thing."
Dixon and Horry County Schools officials anticipate meeting with coaches and trainers around the district to make the process of installing the devices as smooth as possible.