PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Summer may be over for Bay District Schools students, but the summer weather is still sticking around. The heat is a cause for concern as recess and many athletic practices are held outside.
“Some of the dangers that they can face or some of the issues they can have is having that extra clothing and the extra equipment on them which obviously weighs on them,” said Bay County Emergency Medical Services Captain Jessica Lundeen. “It’s going to make them sweat a lot more and it can cause them to get tired a lot quicker and dehydrate a lot quicker.”
Athletic department officials keep a close eye on the forecast using the Perri Weather app. The app provides real-time information on weather conditions at multiple fields and stadiums in the district. Coaches and athletic trainers follow protocols based on the heat zones shown on the app during practices and games.
“There are different levels and different zones like the black zone, red zone, orange zone, yellow zone, green zone,” said Bay District Schools Athletic Director Josh Laatsch. “For instance, at the football game, we’re about 15 minutes until kickoff and we finally get the green zone, so we know we’re able to get the kids on the field.”
Coaches and trainers utilize other tools such as cool-off zones in order to keep athletes from overheating as well. Cool-off zones are tented areas with fans and coolers filled with ice water so athletes can take a break from the heat and stay hydrated. Even with the sun blazing, Laatsch says the players are in high spirits and putting in hard work.
“Kids are being kids, squirting cold water bottles, trying to dump coolers on people, throwing ice at people, so they’re having fun with it.”
Coaches and medical professionals encourage students to stay hydrated throughout the day and take breaks if they start feeling overheated.