The dangerously high temps have prompted a number of schools in our area to send students home early this week. But even in the districts that are not planning for early dismissals, some changes are being made for the sake of student safety.
All of the QC school districts we talked to on Monday said they’re taking the heat into account when it comes to high school sports practices.
Some districts moved back the start time for practices to miss the hottest part of the day; some districts shortened the length of some of their sports practices; some had practices without full pads; some practices were canceled all together.
Everyone said they would have extra water on hand and keep an extra close eye on student athletes to ensure safety.
The Moline School District was no exception.
With the first competitive game of the season just days away, this is crunch time for the Moline high school football team to practice, practice, practice.
But on days like this, the heat is a real issue, and it’s prompting changes to the way practice is usually run.
“Common sense would dictate that you give the kids a little more water, a little more breaks, let them do some more walk through situations with their helmets off,” Moline High School Head Football Coach Matt Woods said.
While preparing for this Friday’s matchup is important, Coach Woods says safety has to be the top priority.
“We’re not going full go here,” he said.
The football team’s practice isn’t the only one impacted by this heat. For the Moline High School cross country team, practice was optional. There was no cheer practice at all.
“I don’t think we would cancel practice,” Coach Woods said. “We’ll tailor back on what we do.”
But the heat does make a difference — whether you’re getting ready for a competitive high school football game or just playing sports for fun.
“You feel like you just get more frustrated and get more irritated with the little things just because of the heat, because it’s so, so hot,” said Dan Tubbs, who was playing a friendly game of tennis near the football team’s practice field.
“But, you definitely sweat more, definitely get a better work out,” he added.
Hydration is key for everyone – and that can be a challenge.
“What we do is mostly just try to keep up with the water,” Aby Scott, water manager for the Moline High School football team, said. “I mean the boys get pretty thirsty and we just try as best as we can.”
For the football team, practicing through the heat now means being all that more ready to play come Friday night.
“I think we have a really good set of boys and we’re going to have a really good season,” Scott said.
“I think the kids are real excited, so I think the excitement and what they’re doing here, they sort of overlook the heat,” agreed Coach Woods.
The Illinois High School Association has specific guidelines for water breaks and other procedures based on the heat index.