The Anticipation of Record Heat Must be the Concern of Educational Institutions and the Safety of their Student Athletes

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Temperatures around the globe are continuing to set new records, and as a result, universities now face increasing challenges in ensuring the safety and performance of their student athletes.

Scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are warning that there is a 1 in 3 chance that 2024 could surpass 2023 as the hottest year on record, driven by a persistent El Niño pattern that might influence global temperatures into at least April. With global temperatures in 2023 reaching 1.35 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages and extreme weather conditions expected in regions like Australia and southern Africa, millions could face crises such as heatwaves, drought, and wildfires.

At home, this proves to be a challenging environment for K-12 and collegiate sports programs. Educational institutions must reevaluate how they prepare for these changes in temperature, such as adjusting practice schedules and other alternative training that reflects a proactive approach to athlete health. These measures are not only necessary for maintaining health but also for optimizing athletic performance in challenging conditions. Johnny Quinn, a professional athlete and U.S. Olympian, understands the critical importance of these adaptations from his own rigorous training in Texas. Quinn shares his three main strategies for sports programs to follow to ensure the safety of their student athletes during potentially record summer heat.

“You know, being a dual sport athlete in Texas where it gets pretty hot, we had practices and different trainings, sometimes as early as 6 am. Now, I don’t know if that was to make sure that all student athletes were engaged and ready to go, but we were doing those practices not during the hot times of the day and so I think moving schedules to cooler times of the day can help alleviate and prepare student athletes for upcoming record heat. Hope these tips were helpful,” said Quinn.

Article written by Alexandra Simon.

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