May 1, 2018
Heat Safety

On Monday, the Florida High School Athletic Association voted to strengthen heat safety education requirements for students and coaches. However, it postponed voting on two new requirements.

According to News-Press, the FHSAA had drawn controversy for downgrading its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee’s proposal to require ice tubs and wet bulb thermometers to ‘”strongly recommended.” Apart from prohibiting pads and helmets during summer practice, the FHSAA leaves safety regulations up to its member schools. Leonard Ireland, attorney for the FHSAA, had warned the board that it would be difficult to enforce requirements for ice baths, and doing so would be a liability for the organization.

“It has been a productive day,” Robert Sefcik, who is part of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee said. “I’m not discouraged by the (postponement). I thought that was the most prudent thing they could do. We need to answer a few more questions for them so they can make a better-informed decision.”

Laurie Martin Giordano, whose son, Zach Martin-Polsenberg, died of heat stroke during a football practice, said that education “is definitely going to help” keep athletes safer, but only if the schools actually implement it.

“The fact that they’re still not addressing summer workouts is egregious in my opinion,” she said. “You can’t have all these guidelines when our students are practicing on our campuses with our school employees and say, ‘Well, we’re not going to regulate that.’”

After tabling the two proposals, the board asked for more time to gather information, such as how many schools have the ice tubs and wet bulb thermometers, and how many would need them. It plans to vote again on the proposals at its next meeting, on June 11-12

“I’m happy that they didn’t just vote one way or another on the strong recommendations,” Martin Giordano said. “I think that would have set us back.”

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