Below you will find recommended guidelines and procedures for suspending, canceling, or conducting practices and competitions as it relates to extreme weather conditions. Following the recommended guidelines can reduce the risk and incidents associated with extreme weather conditions.


    Decisions to cancel Mid Suburban League competitions will be made by mutual agreement between the following designated administrators: District 220 Athletic Director, District 211 Director of Athletics, and designated District 214 Administrator.


    Decisions to cancel and/or suspend athletic practices will be determined on-site by an athletic administrator and/or certified athletic trainer.
    All MSL schools must adhere to the following guidelines for practices.

    Heat Index 90 - 95 degrees

    • Implement mandated water breaks
    • Monitor and decrease level of intensity for drills/practice

    Heat Index 96 - 100 degrees

    • Athletic Directors and designated district administrators (per above) will actively monitor temperatures until the heat index is below 95 degrees

    • Practices will be limited to 90 minutes
    • Implement mandated water breaks
    • Monitor and decrease level of intensity for drills/practices
    • Emphasize instruction over conditioning
    • If the heat index reaches or exceeds 95 degrees at any time

    Heat Index exceeding 100 degrees

    • All practices will be suspended
    • Teams may resume practices once the heat index reading is below 100 degrees
    • If practices have not yet begun, teams may practice once the heat index reading is below 100 degrees

    MSL Football Acclimatization Guidelines

    • Emphasize instruction over conditioning throughout a practice, the practice must cease 90 minutes from the original practice start time
    • Walk-throughs are considered a part of the 90 minutes and may not be additional practice time
    • Once a team leaves the field due to heat index, they may not return until the heat index is below 95 degrees
    • A certified athletic trainer should be present (on-site) at practices
    • Decisions to suspend competition(s) will be made based on mutual consent by designated athletic administrators in cooperation with the respective district offices
    • Summer and fall practice sessions must adhere to current IHSA bylaws pertaining to weather and acclimatization.

    Lightning and Thunder

    • Thor-guard systems should be used to determine proximity and activity of lightning. If the Thor-guard sounds, teams should move indoors immediately
    • Teams may return outdoors one the Thor-guard system signals an “all-clear”, which is 3 consecutive horns

    When the Thor-Guard system activates:

    ·The system will sound a warning horn of one – 15 second blast when there is a threat of lighting in the vicinity.
    ·In addition to the horn blast, a strobe light mounted on the unit will continue to flash until the all-clear signal has sounded.
    ·When either of these warnings (15 second blast or flashing strobe) occur, all personnel (players, coaches, spectators, and officials) must evacuate the field and seek safe shelter.
    ·The all-clear signal is three 5-second blasts with 3-second intervals in between. The strobe light will also turn off at this time.
    ·Contests may not resume until the all-clear has sounded and the strobe light has shut off.

    Safe Shelter:

    ·A safe location is a frequently inhabited building such as the school or out building.
    ·A secondary choice is a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof such as a bus or car.
    ·If no safe structure or vehicle is available, find a thick grove of small trees surrounded by larger trees or a dry ditch. Assume a crouch position on the balls of your feet, minimizing contact with the ground.
    ·Do not take refuge under the bleachers or near fences, light poles, or individual trees.

    Extreme Cold

    • All athletes should be properly clothed for outdoor practices
    • Outdoor practices are not permitted when the wind chill is below 0 degrees
    • If Thor-guard is not available, or does not function properly, teams should move indoors once lightning is visible, or thunder is heard.
    Teams should remain indoors until no lightning/thunder is present for a minimum of 30 minutes
    • Decisions to suspend competition(s) will be made based on mutual consent by designated athletic administrators in cooperation with the respective district offices

    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 high body fat; have to work harder for the 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 the same rate that they lost them (work hard, drink a lot).

    g. Talk to athletes and coaches in the preseason about the 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.