Many school districts in North Texas aren't using national heat guidelines during football practices, according to a Dallas Morning News survey.
Most of the 40 districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have not adopted all the recommendations developed by the University Interscholastic League and the National Athletic Trainers' Association, the newspaper reported Sunday.
David Csillan, a New Jersey athletic trainer was co-chaired the NATA task force, said heat-related deaths are on the rise, even though they are preventable.
"I've had coaches say to me from all parts of the country that we have thousands of athletes practicing every day, and if we have one guy go down, that's not a bad percentage," he told the newspaper. "One is a not a bad percentage until it's your son or daughter."
D.W. Rutledge, the executive direct of the Texas High School Coaches Association, says heat-related deaths are rare in Texas. That track record shows coaches do a good job, he said.
Many districts modify practices depending on the heat index, but they don't all use the same chart. The UIL and the NATA recommend using a sling psychrometer to get more accurate readings; 18 districts reported using them.
And most of the districts reported they did not have ice baths on the field that can be used to cool off athletes suffering from heat stroke.
The Arlington Independent School District, for example, has ice towels instead. I.C. Little, the district's athletic director, told The Dallas Morning News it's not "economically feasible" to have ice baths.
"In this day and age with the money situation we have, we have to piece it together the best we can," he told the newspaper.
But the Dallas ISD's head athletic trainer said he put together inexpensive ice baths using 50-gallon Rubbermaid tanks that cost about $60 each. The Dallas ISD has required ice baths since 2005.