Coaches adjust schedules for heat, keeping players safe

WICHITA, Kan. With opening games weeks away, fall sports teams want to maximize time they have to prepare. But by rule, some in the state have to wait when it gets as hot as it is this week with heat indices exceeding 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

At Friends University's Adair-Austin Stadium, you won't find football players out on the field on days like Monday or Tuesday of this week. The reason: It's too hot.

"Ultimately, we want our student athletes to be safe, and you hear increasingly about issues with the heat across the country and tragic things can happen," Friends Athletic Director Rob Ramseyer says.

Leagues like the KCAC (which includes Friends) are doing their part in keeping athletes safe, even if that means working a different schedule.

"We would like to be out here grinding through the weather, but at the end of the day, there were situations across the country where people haven't been responsible, and we aren't going to put ourselves in that situation," Friends football coach Dion Meneley says.

The new rule that was proposed by athletic trainers in the KCAC says they'll monitor temperatures and heat indices days in advance and then decide if it's safe to play. The conference adopted the new rule this year and anytime the feels-like temperature exceeds 105, there is no outdoor activity.

The rule doesn't only apply to the heat. If the wind chill feels colder than 15-degrees Fahrenheit, athletes have to stay indoors.

College athletes aren't the only ones trying to find ways to beat the weather in their season preparation. High school sports started fall practices this week across Kansas and coaches like Steve Martin at Wichita Northwest, are doing whatever they can to make sure athletes are taking care of their bodies.

That includes plenty of water breaks and having coaches monitor players during every drill.