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How are Palm Beach County schools keeping athletes safe in the heat?

All high schools adjust workouts when temperatures get too hot, athletic officials say
The Dr. Joaquín García High School Bulldogs football team practices in August 2023.jpg
Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-08 17:06:59-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The heat danger remains with the start of school now just days away in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. That, too, means the return of school sports.

On a day like Tuesday with an excessive heat warning, the athletic director at the brand new Dr. Joaquín García High School in western Lake Worth said they make adjustments to their practices to keep all of the athletes safe.


"Instead of being outside for a longer period of time, we would take those necessary breaks, delay practice, or give kids the opportunity to come inside when needed," García High School athletic director Pam Romero said. "And there are many practice drills you can also do inside of a gymnasium or a big space like this. Not in the elements of the Sun."

Romero said the heat has been top of mind for athletic directors and coaches across the School District of Palm Beach County.

All Palm Beach County high schools follow the Zachary Martin Act, which was enacted statewide for heat safety guidelines.

They have wet bulb globe thermometers, which measure heat stress in direct sunlight. When temperatures get too high, they make adjustments. And there is an athletic trainer at every practice to help.

"There's also an air conditioned field house that we have right outside the turf and practice fields for the athletes to go to, whether they need to just cool off or need the cold immersion tube, electrolytes, whatever is needed. It's right there, readily available to them," Romero said.

The blue turf at the García High School "Dog Pound," as they are calling it, is certainly a different experience for athletes. Romero said it's actually hotter than grass, so what they're doing is really spending a lot of time on their practice fields, on the grass, until they get the athletes acclimated to the turf field.