New rules aim to keep players cool

By Nick Forbes

Pre-season practices for a football player can be one of the best, or one of the worst, times of the year. It’s a chance to prove to coaches and teammates that you are worthy of a starting position, but pre-season practices also mean long practices in the heat, with all the hitting and running imaginable. However, this year, a new set of laws aimed to regulate the intensity of pre-season practices.

These laws are being called “Heat Acclimation Rules” and went into effect in August of 2012 for their first season. The laws were passed by a combination of the Maryland General Assembly and the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) to ensure the health and safety of student athletes while performing in the heat.

Coaches are now required to help players adjust to the heat, meaning practices cannot start out with players in full pads. Instead, players will start with wearing only helmets for a day, then gradually adding shoulder pads and finally fully padded pants.

Middletown High School varsity head football coach Kevin Lynott called the rules a “dramatic change” but believes that it’s ultimately for the good of the students.

“There are no major problems with the new regulations,” said Lynott, “but there are some things that need to be tweaked.”

Lynott went on to say that the laws should take into consideration the amount of summer conditioning put in by the players, and give them less time without pads because they had already been acclimated to the heat.

As for the future, Lynott said he plans to do nothing different but to be more aware and prepared of the new rule change.