Lightning Safety Policy
It is very important to monitor lightning and weather conditions when suspected to be in the area. If lightning is within 8 miles of sporting venues it is strongly recommended as a determinant of when to suspend or postpone physical activities. On Game Days, all fields will begin clearing at the 10-mile mark.
Hear it, clear it!
Suspension/Cancellation of Physical Activities
The decision to suspend or postpone a physical activity due to lightning is based on current research as well as the recommendations set forth in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Lightning Safety for Athletics & Recreation. It is important coaches understand the recommendation to suspend or postpone physical activities because of the safety and welfare of ALL individuals. In the absence of the certified athletic trainer or the athletic director coaches must exercise prudent decision-making regarding lightning safety. Although, the certified athletic trainer and the athletic director are responsible for making the recommendation to suspend or postpone physical activities due to lightning it is ultimately the coaches’ responsibility to do it.
Seeking Appropriate Shelter
A safe location at the first sign of thunder and/or lightning is highly recommended. By the time the flash-to-bang count approaches 40 seconds ALL individuals should already be inside a safe location. The primary choice for shelter is any sturdy building with four enclosed walls. Electric and telephone wiring as well as plumbing pathways aid in grounded buildings which make them safer than remaining outdoors during thunderstorms.
In the absence of the primary choice for shelter the secondary choice is a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof and the windows closed. DO NOT touch any part of the metal framework of the vehicle while inside during thunderstorms. It is important for everyone to seek the appropriate shelter immediately! The certified athletic trainer, the athletic director, and coaches should help to direct spectators and officials to the appropriate shelter.
If there is no safe location within a reasonable distance, then assume a crouched position on the ground in an effort to minimize contact with it. DO NOT LIE FLAT!
Stay away from the tall trees or lone objects (such as light or flag poles), metal objects (fences or bleachers), standing pools of water, and open fields. DO NOT use land-line telephones, except in emergency situations. A cell-phone or a cordless phone is a safe alternative.
At Mandarin High School, all athletes will return to the locker rooms. All fans will be asked to vacate the premises and return to their cars. If anyone is unable to find a safe location, other locations on campus will be opened, i.e. gym or auditorium.
Resumption of Physical Activities Following Suspension Due to Inclement Weather
Once physical activities have been suspended teams should wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder and/or lightning before resuming a physical activity outdoors. The certified athletic trainer or the other designated weather watcher will continue to monitor the weather conditions and will decide in conjunction with the athletic director, coaches, and officials when it is safe to return to physical activity.
First Aid for Lightning Strike Victims
Remember lightning strike victims DO NOT carry an electrical charge. Therefore, first responders can safely touch lightning strike victims. Lightning strike victims who show signs of cardiac or respiratory arrest need emergency attention immediately! Make sure that it is safe for you and the other rescuers to reach the lightning strike victim. You do not want to become a victim yourself.
For up-to-date information on hydration, visit the Kori Stringer Institute.
As Athletic Trainers, we are trained to prepare for environmental issues to athletics, such as high temperatures. We have a policy in place that allows us to make accommodations to practice or competition depending on the environmental standings. We use Wet Bulb Globe Thermometers (WBGTs) to identify the amount of stress placed on an individual based on heat and humidity. This reading should be taken whenever the forecasted outside temperature will exceed 75 degrees F and should be repeated hourly if temperature is expected to increase. The number identified on the WBGT corresponds to a potential accommodation on the chart. The chart is shown below:
Activity Guideline and Rest Breaks
Normal Activity – Provide a minimal of a 5-minute rest break for every 30 minutes of practice. Unlimited access to water as needed.
82.0 – 86.9
Use discretion for intense or prolonged exercise; watch at-risk players carefully. Provide a minimal of a 5-minute rest break for every 30 minutes of practice. Unlimited access to water as needed.
87.0 – 89.9
Maximum outdoor practice time is 2 hours. For football: Players are restricted to helmet, shoulder pads and shorts, and all protective equipment is to be removed for any conditioning activities. If the WBGT rises to this level during practice, players may continue to practice wearing football pants without changing to shorts; however, players should be consistently carefully monitored. For all sports: provide a rest break every 15 minutes of practice with at least a minimum duration of 4 minutes.
90.0 – 92.0
Maximum outdoor practice time is 1 hour. For football: no protective equipment may be worn during practice, and there may be no conditioning activities. For all sports: there must be 20 minutes of rest break distributed throughout the 1-hour practice time.
No outdoor workouts. Practice should be delayed until cooler WBGT is reached or move indoors into an air-conditioned environment.
Athletic Trainers are also trained to identify specific conditions that can result from increased outside temperature. The following is a list of heat related illnesses that will be discussed in detail another section: Heat Cramps, Heat Syncope, Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke. Heat Stroke is a medical emergency that is treated by cooling the body as fast as possible and activating EMS. We cool the body by immersing the athlete in a Cold Water Immersion TUB (CWI Tub) all the way up to his/her shoulders, so that someone (preferably the Athletic Trainer) can hold the athlete from behind using a towel under the armpits to prevent the athlete from going underwater. The CWI Tub is filled 2/3 with water before any practice or competition if the temperature outside is above 75 degrees F. 30 gallons of ice is preferred to be ready on “stand-by” in case an athlete needs to be immediately cooled. The athlete will be cooled until the core body temperature reaches at maximum 102 degrees, then will be transported via EMS to the nearest Emergency Department for continual cooling, rehydration, and monitoring. The CWI Tub at Mandarin High School is usually located around the field house based on which sports are currently active.