IHSA issues new rules regarding heat and student athletes' safety

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When it comes to strapping on football pads and practicing in the heat, odds are, you won't find a teenager who enjoys it much.

"It's rough," admitted Massac County senior wide receiver Austin Kendall. "Pads make it hotter outside, and you're always thirsty when you're out here, so whenever you get water you cherish that moment."

To help acclimate students to the heat, the Illinois High School Association implemented a new schedule this year. The new rules don't even allow teams to wear full pads until the second week of practice, which coaches are on board with.

"It's vital that we take our baby steps so to speak to ensure safety," said Massac County football coach John Warren.

The one problem with the new schedule is that practices can only be three hours a day for the first week, compared to the old schedule which allowed six hours a day.

"We're going to have to be so well organized," said Vienna-Goreville football coach Mike Rude. "We cannot waste a single minute. We won't even be able to really have the hour walk through, because you have to have a two hour rest before you get to have the walk through."

That means the twenty-five summer workouts each team gets will be more important than ever, because when it comes to a student's well being, these new rules shouldn't be overlooked.

"Some of the younger coaches need to understand that if you don't follow those new IHSA guidelines to the letter, you're really jeopardizing your career," Rude said.

With the new rules, teams only have nine days of practice with full pads before games start on August 30th.

Along with that, they can't expand their practice time to five hours a day until after the school year has already started, which means two a day practices are most likely a thing of the past.

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