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IHSA Requires WetBulb Globe Temperature for Outdoor Events

Concept or background for climate change, heat wave or global warming, orange sky with clouds and bright sun
Guenter Albers/Günter Albers - stock.adobe.com
Concept or background for climate change, heat wave or global warming, orange sky with clouds and bright sun

The excessive heat has caused area schools to delay and even cancel some athletic events to keep student athletes safe from heat related illnesses. High school athletics follow policies outlined by the Illinois High School Association to keep athletes safe during excessive heat by using the WetBulb Globe Temperature.

The WetBulb Globe Temperature or the WBGT is a device that measures HEAT STRESSYou’re probably familiar with the Heat Index but that only measures temperature and humidity for conditions in shady areas.

The WBGT device measures 5 factors to find the rating of heat stress in direct sunlight at a given time. The factors are temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover, or solar radiation. All of these factors affect athletes practicing and competing outdoors or in environments without air conditioning. Taking a measurement of these factors gives a more accurate understanding of what precautions are needed to make outdoor activity safer. Outlined precautions include changes to length of activity, frequency of water breaks, use of protective equipment, if conditioning workouts are allowed or if it is necessary to delay or cancel scheduled events.

IHSA states that the readings are taken by athletic trainers or other athletics professionals 30 min prior to any practice and subsequently every 30 min for the duration of the event.

Leah Lerner is a media writer, producer, and announcer at WSIU Public Broadcasting located at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Contact WSIU Radio at 618-453-6101 or email wsiunews@wsiu.org.
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