Below-freezing temperatures cut practices short


Stu Mair

Most athletes are pretty dedicated to their sport but as the temperatures continue to drop, even the most dedicated might have to cut practice time short or workout in the indoor facility due to the 32 degree rule.

Katie Felton, Staff Reporter

The worst of the winter weather is still to come and for the school’s athletic teams that could leave some teams in the deep freeze. The LISD UIL sports’ cold weather rule states that athletes can not participate in outdoor activity if the temperature or wind chill is 15 degrees or below. If the temperature or wind chill is 25 degrees or below the activity is limited to 45 minutes to decrease the risk of frostbite and dehydration.

“[This rule is important because] cold weather can be as dangerous a hot weather,” athletic trainer Susan Smiley said. “Kids can get hypothermic and so we try to prevent that and when you’re working out in the cold muscles get tight so it uniforms with injuries.”

The LISD UIL rules also say that when a cold temperature is reached warmer clothing must be worn around the torso to help keep hold body heat.

Students agree with the rule.

“I think this could be a good thing,” junior Justin Malik said. “Your body has to work so much harder in the cold but it could also make workouts unsafe [to participate in].”

In cold weather activity the thirst reflex is not activated so athletes are not aware when they need water, leading to a greater chance of dehydration.

“In cold weather, as far as dehydration goes the indoor environment with the heaters going the air can be really dry so you have to stay hydrated because you’re getting dry air that your breathing all day,” Smiley said.

Cold stress is also a side effect of practicing in freezing weather.

“The girls need to obviously dress warmly, and this is why I tell [them] about the time it takes to warm up and just how much more it takes for those muscles to warm up,” head girls soccer coach Misty Benson said. “Sometimes [we alter warm up schedules] but it just depends on what we have to do and really how long we’re going to be outside and what we’re doing out there in the cold. Like the other day, we we going to be indoor for the first 45 minutes, so we would have been good and warm and so we would have just popped outside and done what we needed to do. But when we don’t have that, your warm ups are usually pretty in depth to satisfy what needs to happen.”

The weather will be checked three days before an outside game and the possibility of rescheduling is discussed if the weather is predicted to be below freezing.

“Our only concern is can we get to the facility in a safe way. We try to check the weather report the night before and if the roads are going to be okay we will definitely make it to practice,” Assistant Athletic Director and head boys basketball coach Kyle Herema said.  “But if they are not we will wait later in the day, let it thaw, and come to practice later in the day. For the sports that practice outside there are situations where we can’t control the weather, and it will get to a point where the kids can’t be out there.”