GHSA changes rules to improve heat-related safety

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High school football practices now have stricter rules to improve heat-related safety.

The Georgia High School Association has banned three-a-days and will fine those who violate other new rules implemented to help ensure safety.

Two-a-days can no longer be held on consecutive days or exceed five hours in a day. Players also have to go through five days of practice in only helmets, shorts and shirts before going to full pads as early as Aug. 1. No-pads practices are limited to two hours and can’t begin earlier than July 25. Practices with pads can’t last longer than three hours.

“They’re trying to step in and put measures in place to keep the kids from overheating and getting heat-related illnesses,” Burke County coach Eric Parker said.

However, when it comes to staying safe in the intense heat, Parker and Laney football coach Lemuel Lackey are most concerned with hydration, whether it’s a player going to practices for multiple sports or not hydrating enough during the day.

Parker tries to educate his players about hydrating and eating the right way after practice, at night and during the day. In other words, there has to be an “all-in effort,” both at school and in homes, to ensure safety.

Lackey hopes the new rules are just the beginning when it comes to keeping students safe.

“There needs to be something about hydrating kids,” he said. “That’s the biggest issue they’re facing.”

CLASS A PLAYOFFS

The GHSA approved separate playoffs for public and private schools in Class A for football, basketball, baseball and softball. Playoff teams will be determined by a points system. Track and field, cross country, golf and tennis will also have separate champions, with area formats used to make up brackets.

In the remaining sports, public and private schools will compete for one title.

– Wayne Staats, staff writer


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