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Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers will Implement New PIAA rules for Heat Acclimatization in effect for 2013 Football Season

Harrisburgh, PA (PRWEB) August 19, 2013

High school football programs around the commonwealth had the option of beginning practices on August 7, 2013, a full five days before the official first day of fall sports. Over the summer months, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) passed a new rule for heat acclimatization. These rules allow for new heat acclimatization practices to be implemented into the practice schedule. The Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society, Inc (PATS) along with the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) was instrumental in drafting these new rules.

PATS President-Elect and the PATS liaison to the SMAC John Moyer was one of a few athletic trainers involved in the drafting of the new rules. “The PIAA was aware that something needed to be adopted so it was just a matter of finding a program that the PIAA Football Steering Committee and the PIAA SMAC could compromise on” said John Moyer. Joe Iezzi was another athletic trainer involved with the drafting of the new rules, “We have been discussing it for about two years now more seriously in the last year; we finalized everything at the SMAC meeting in February.” The rules were approved at the July Board of Directors’ meeting.

The PIAA provides high schools the option of starting the heat acclimatization program on Wednesday August 7, 2013. The practices must be three consecutive days with a maximum of 5 hours of practice time and a minimum of three hours. If a school decides to practice for 5 hours, each session must not be longer than 2.5 hours with a 2 hour recovery time between practices.

Athletes are permitted to wear helmets and shoulder pads on the first two days of practice. On the third day, full equipment may be worn. If the practice is before the first day of fall sports, then contact is prohibited. If teams chose to start on the first day of fall sports (August 12th) then contact is allowed on third day.

Head coaches from each school were given the autonomy to develop a heat acclimatization plan that meant the required standards. Once developed, this plan was to be reviewed by the Athletic Trainer or sports medicine team with final approval lying with the principal.

Although this is a great start to keep Pennsylvania football athletes safer, Moyer reports more work needs to be done. “The program will need to improve to meet the standards of a complete acclimatization program. We will continue to work with the PIAA through the PIAA SMAC to hopefully see these changes occur.”

For more information regarding this topic or to schedule an interview with PATS President Yvette Ingram, PhD, LAT, ATC, please contact Linda Mazzoli MS, LAT, ATC, PATS Executive Director at patsexecutivedirector(at)gopats(dot)org.

The Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society, Inc. is a progressive organization of licensed health care professionals who work under the direction of a licensed physician. Our society continues to increase public awareness and education regarding Athletic Trainers and the Athletic Training profession while serving as the premier source of information for public safety, injury and illness prevention, early intervention, patient care, and healthcare delivery for the physically active in the Commonwealth.

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