High school football teams preparing for storms and heat

Keeping high school football players safe in the heat

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - This year, the start of the high school football season is greeted by high temperatures.

According to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, for the first four weeks of the season game officials are required to take a heat break every quarter.

That usually happens around the 6 minute mark. The break lasts one minute, enough time for players to get water.

This is done for athlete’s safety, and if it’s hot enough there can be additional breaks given.

"It’s up to the referee at their discretion if conditions warrant, then they can do additional ones as well,” said Mark Jones, AHSAA Director of Officials. “And I said this the other day to someone. It’s not only for the players that are out there but for the officials too. I mean they are going through that same stress.”

In addition to those heat timeouts during the quarter, an additional minute is added between quarters.

As for possible severe weather, there are very specific rules about how to handle those situations. The AHSAA says they follow the national guidelines, which states when lightning starts, play stops for at least 30 minutes. If lightning continues during that time period, the clock is reset.

At some point, a decision to postpone the game might be made.

"During these weather delays we would get with both officials and administrations officials. And if they just determine that it’s going to be too late, and we’ve got a team traveling a long distance, they’ll come together and reach a decision where we’re going to go ahead and postpone it the next day,” said Jones.

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