School officials use more than just heat index to keep student athletes safe in the heat

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - Tuesday is another record-breaking day with high temperatures rising into the mid-90s and heat indices in the triple digits. We hear heat index all the time but there’s actually another measurement that all schools use across the state to make sure students are staying safe.

That’s the wet-bulb globe temperature. This is similar to the heat index but instead of factoring just temp and humidity, the wet-bulb globe temp takes into account the wind, sun angle, and cloud cover.

This is seen as an effective way to measure heat stress on the body. Michael Roth, director of athletics at Parkways Schools, said the number one goal is to keep students and coaches safe.

“We have certified athletic trainers at all of our games and practices," he said. "They monitor the heat index, the wind, the temperature, the humidity, all that goes into effect. It gives us a reading and they adjust accordingly.”

The wet-bulb globe temperature is the approved measurement by the Missouri State High School Athletic Association. When temperatures rise above 80 degrees, the reading must be checked every hour, beginning 30 minutes before the start of practice.

The guidelines for wet-bulb globe temperature are as follows:

82.1 - 86.9 degrees: Use discretion for intense or prolonged exercise

87 – 89.9 degrees: Maximum practice of two hours

  • Consider delaying or rescheduling games
  • Football: Players restricted to helmet, shoulder pads, and shorts

90 – 92 degrees: Maximum practice of two hours

  • Consider delaying or rescheduling games
  • Football: No protective equipment worn during practice

Greater than 92 degrees: No outdoor workouts; cancel or delay practice

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