Heat and Humidity Guidelines

CONTESTS: Applicable only for MSL contests:
When the Temperature-Humidity Index is 100o or higher, all MSL contests will be postponed and rescheduled according to league-adopted procedures. The Temperature-Humidity Index to be used will be the reading at O'Hare Airport two hours prior to game time. Contests may be postponed with less lead time only by mutual consent.

PRACTICES: Practice conditions will be evaluated by the athletic training staff either by direct measurement on site or through weather radio. This is done before practice and as conditions warrant. Temperature and relative humidity conditions will be posted and updated for all coaches along with the following practice guidelines. Athletic trainers will keep a log record of temperature and humidity during times of extreme conditions.

The following scale is used to determine what limitations are imposed on athletic activities. In game situations, decisions regarding heat and humidity will be made by IHSA officials and the administrator on duty in collaboration with the trainer(s) and coaches.

Relative Humidity

Air Temperature


Under 70%

Under 89%

No limitations.

Over 70%
Under 70%

80o - 89o OR
90o - 99o

Shortened practices with water breaks (football-minimum pads).

Over 70%

90o - 99o

Restricted practice as defined by coach, trainer, and administrator consultation.

(Any Value)


Suspend practice.

Athletes will be instructed to remove themselves from any athletic activity if they feel overheated. If an athlete has any symptoms of heat related illness (see signs and symptoms below), he/she will be removed from any athletic activity and given reasonable and prudent immediate care by the training and/or coaching staff. The athlete's parent/guardian will be notified and advised to contact their physician or go to the local emergency room if symptoms persist or worsen.

Athletes with any heat related illness (see signs and symptoms below) will be reevaluated by the certified Athletic Trainer before being allowed to return to activity. The coach will verify the athletes practice status with the athletic trainer prior to the athlete returning to activity.

The assistant principal for student activities, associate principals, principal, and/or assistant superintendent for educational services will be notified of practice limitations and are responsible for monitoring the adherence to these guidelines.


Heat Related Illness: Signs and Symptoms

Heat Cramps

Involuntary muscle spasm (usually located in, but not limited, to calves).

Heat exhaustion

Throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, chills, dizziness or lightheadedness, rapid pulse, cool and clammy skin, pale skin color, and/or excessive sweating.

Heat Stroke (Medical Emergency)

Disorientation, slurred speech, confusion or aggressive behavior, unconsciousness, dry skin (absence of sweat is highly suggestive of heat related illness but sweating may be present as well), flushed/hot skin, rapid/pounding pulse.

I. Prevention of Heat Related Illness

a. Allow unlimited access to water/fluids at all practices and games.

b. Watch players who have a high body fat; have to work harder for same results.

c. Watch players who have smaller bodies; less surface area to get rid of heat.

d. Watch the very young - prepubertal; sweating mechanism not fully developed until then.

e. Watch those with more clothing/equipment; the heat is trapped against their bodies.

f. Encourage athletes to drink fluids at same rate that they lost them (work hard, drink a lot).

g. Talk to athletes and coaches in preseason about prevention of heat illness (Gatorade video).

h. Discourage weight loss if it is only fluid loss (wrestlers, etc.).

i. Set up a weight chart and have players weigh in/out/in before practice; measure fluid loss.

j. Check urine; dark, concentrated urine means dehydrated, clear means hydrated.

k. Those who are not acclimatized are at greater risk. Acclimatization is the process where the body learns to function more efficiently in the heat. For example, in the spring, 75û feels warm, but when you are acclimatized to the heat in the summer 75û feels cold!

l. Those athletes who are in poor physical condition are at higher risk. For example, the ones who did not do summer school sports are at greater risk in the fall.

m. Athletes who have been ill, have a fever, or are recovering from an illness are at greater risk.


II. Fluid Replacement

a. Athletes must drink past the point where their thirst is quenched.

b. Fluids should be available freely to all athletes at all times.

c. Athletes must replenish fluids to the weight they were before practice.

d. Athletes should check their urine color before practice; if it is dark, they are still dehydrated and should drink before practice.

e. Cold water is an excellent replacement fluid.

f. Fluids other than water:

1. Sports drinks are generally only necessary during long term activities. They help replenish sugar and minerals lost in sweat. However, they are not harmful at any time.

2. Avoid drinks high in sugar (sodas) due to slow absorption.

3. Avoid drinks high in caffeine: tea, sodas, coffee. They cause urination.

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