The start of Southern California’s longest and biggest heat wave of the year arrives Wednesday, which means high school sports programs are in preparation mode to protect their athletes while continuing to hold or modify events.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, it will be up to school administrators to make decisions on events and practices while consulting with district personnel, but everyone will be checking the heat index (how it really feels when relative humidity is factored with the air temperature) and receiving information from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.
Some events have been canceled, such as a cross-country meet scheduled for Pierce College in Woodland Hills on Thursday, when the high temperature is projected to be 104. Taft High assistant principal Neezer McNab said athletes have been advised to drink lots of water during the day before engaging in any workouts. The football team has a game scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday at Dymally. The schools will decide by Friday whether the game date needs to be changed. .
Garfield football coach Lorenzo Hernandez said his school has a WetBulb Globe Temperature monitor donated by the National Federation of State High School Assns. that measures heat stress in direct sunlight and will be used for any outdoor activities. Football practice will have “anytime” water and rest breaks while uniform gear could be adjusted to just helmets and shoulder pads along with having a rapid cooling station available for an ice bath in case of emergency. Practices will be changed to either early morning or late afternoon depending on field availability.
Lower-level football games scheduled for Thursday afternoon might be moved or postponed depending on the heat index.
St. Francis football coach Dean Herrington said Wednesday’s scheduled practice start time has been moved from 3:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Some schools don’t have lights on their football field, so 3 p.m. practices might still be taking place with additional water breaks.
Arleta was supposed to host Marquez in a day football game on Thursday. Now the game will be played at night at Marquez.
A cross-country invitational scheduled for Saturday in Pomona will start four hours later and end after 10 p.m.