Recommendations for the 14-Day Heat-Acclimatization Period 1.
- Days 1 through 5 of the heat-acclimatization period consist of the first 5 days of formal practice. During this time, athletes may not participate in more than 1 practice per day.
- If a practice is interrupted by inclement weather or heat restrictions, the practice should recommence once conditions are deemed safe. Total practice time should not exceed 3 hours in any 1 day.
- A 1-hour maximum walk-through is permitted during days 1–5 of the heat-acclimatization period. However, a 3-hour recovery period should be inserted between the practice and walk-through (or vice versa). The only pieces of player equipment to be worn by the individuals during the walk-through are shoes and helmets. The only pieces of general equipment to be used during the walk-through are footballs and kicking tees.
- During days 1–2 of the heat-acclimatization period, in sports requiring helmets or shoulder pads, a helmet should be the only protective equipment permitted (goalies, as in the case of field hockey and related sports, should not wear full protective gear or perform activities that would require protective equipment).
- During days 3–5, only helmets and shoulder pads should be worn.
- Football only: On days 3–5, contact with blocking sleds and tackling dummies may be initiated. Beginning on day 6, all protective equipment may be worn and full contact may begin.
- Full-contact sports: 100% live contact drills should begin no earlier than day 6.
- Beginning no earlier than day 6 and continuing through day 14, double-practice days must be followed by a single-practice day. On single-practice days, 1 walk-through is permitted, separated from the practice by at least 3 hours of continuous rest. When a double-practice day is followed by a rest day, another double-practice day is permitted after the rest day.
- On a double-practice day, neither practice should exceed 3 hours in duration, and student-athletes should not participate in more than 5 total hours of practice. Warm-up, stretching, cool-down, walk-through, conditioning, and weight-room activities are included as part of the practice time. The 2 practices should be separated by at least 3 continuous hours in a cool environment.
- Because the risk of exertional heat illnesses during the preseason heat-acclimatization period is high, we strongly recommend that an athletic trainer be on site before, during, and after all practices.
NSAA SMAC Revised and Approved – April, 2014 NSAA SMAC Recommendations – April, 2013 References: 1. Casa DJ, Csillan, D. Preseason Heat-Acclimatization Guidelines for Secondary School Athletics. Journal of Athletic Training. 2009;44(3):332-333. 2. Casa DJ, Almquist J, et al. The Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Secondary School Athletics Programs: Best-Practices Recommendations. Journal of Athletic Training. 2013;48(4):546-553. 3. National Federation of State High School Associations Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. Heat acclimatization and heat illness prevention position statement. Published 2012. http://www.nfhs.org.