SC school athletics take new measures to prevent heat strokes

Protecting HS students in the heat
The thermometer will help prevent heat stroke by reading outdoor conditions. (SCHSL)
The thermometer will help prevent heat stroke by reading outdoor conditions. (SCHSL)

(WIS) - Columbia is famously hot and it can be dangerous, especially for those participating in outdoor activities.

This year, the South Carolina High School League is enforcing stricter rules aimed at preventing heat stroke in young athletes.

"Our district has made it a priority for the safety of our kids so it's not really a big adjustment other than now we have a tool that's going to tell us a little bit more specifically," Head football coach at Spring Valley High School Robin Bacon said.

Schools across South Carolina will now be using a device called the Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer (WBGT).

Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, all middle and high schools will be required to use a wet bulb globe thermometer to determine safe conditions for practice or competition during times of high heat and humidity.

But the thermometer measures more than just the temperature. It takes into account the temperature, humidity, wind speed, and sunlight to determine a more accurate temperature.

This is new for South Carolina, but it's already been in place in Georgia and North Carolina.

"There have been times we've been in full pads going at it, and they had to stop practice. You know we've just had to take all our equipment off and practice with just helmets and shoulder pads," Spring Valley High School Senior running back Anthony Wilson said.

Schools can implement stricter rules if they want. But at the minimum, they must abide by the readings of the thermometer.

A WBGT can cost anywhere from $100 - $500 depending on the model.

Each school is responsible for purchasing their own thermometer.

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