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SSA Weather Policy

The purpose of this policy is to educate our coaches, athletes, referees, and parents in strategies to ensure that all of our activities are conducted in a manner that best ensures the safety of our participants, and provides a set of guidelines for program directors and coaches to follow when determining the appropriateness of hosting a practice or scrimmage game.

For data purposes, the website www.accuweather.com will be used, entering the location as the zip code for the event/activity.


Hot Weather Practice Policy

Adapted from US Soccer Hot Weather Guidelines -  Click HERE to view on the US Soccer website.

Alert Level

Temp

Conditions

Work-to-Rest Recommendations

Black

92 or higher

Extreme

No outdoor training

Red

90.1 - 91.9

High Risk

Max of 1 hr training with 4 x 4-min breaks. No additional conditioning

Orange

87 - 90

Moderate Risk

Max of 2 hr training with 4x4-min breaks per hour or 10-min break every 30 mins

Yellow

82.2 - 87

Less that Ideal

3 separate 4-min breaks each hour or 12-min break every 40 mins

Green

82.1 or lower

Good

Normal activities, 3 x 3-min breaks each hour or a 10-min break every 40 mins

Key Terms and Definitions:

Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are muscular pain and spasm due to heavy exertion and dehydration. Heat cramps usually involve the abdominal muscles or legs, and it is generally thought that dehydration is the cause.

Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm, humid environment where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Fluid loss causes blood flow to decrease in the vital organs, resulting in a form of shock.

Heat Stroke: Heat stroke is life threatening. The victim’s temperature-control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Any heat stroke victim must be quickly cooled and referred for advanced medical attention.

Dehydration: When fluid loss exceeds fluid intake.

Effects of Dehydration:

Dehydration can affect an athlete’s performance in less than an hour of exercise—sooner if the athlete begins the session dehydrated

Dehydration of just 1%-2% of body weight (only 1.5-3 lbs. for a 150lb. athlete) can negatively influence performance

Dehydration of greater than 3% of body weight increases an athlete’s risk of heat illness (heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke)

Warning Signs of Dehydration: Recognize the basic signs of dehydration  - Thirst, Irritability, Headache, Weakness, Dizziness, Cramps, Nausea, Decreased performance

Fluid Guidelines:

Before exercise:  

2-3 hours before exercise 17-20 oz. of water or a sports drink  

10-20 minutes before exercise drink another 7-10 oz. of water or sports drink

During exercise  Drink early—even minimal dehydration compromises performance  

Drink every 10-20 minutes, at least 7-10 oz of water or sports drink.

To maintain hydration, remember to drink beyond your thirst. Optimally, drink fluids based on amount of sweat and urine loss.

After exercise  Within 2 hours, drink enough to replace any weight loss from exercise.

Drink approximately 20-24 oz. of a sports drink per pound of weight loss.


Cold Weather Policy

Adapted from US Soccer Cold Weather Guidelines -  Click HERE to view on the US Soccer website.

COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS

Dressing for the Cold

When temperatures drop and wind increases, the body loses heat more rapidly. It is important to dress appropriately when training or playing in cold weather. This also means to not overdress. Layering clothing in a specific way (see box) is recommended and very effective. The layers can be added or removed based on body temperature and changing environmental conditions, such as temperature and wind. Allow players to wear additional clothing, like gloves, sweatshirts, sweat pants and/or hats or headbands. Also, avoid sweating before going outside because your body will cool too quickly.

Stay Dry

Wet and damp conditions add to the risk of injury or illness during cold weather. Players, coaches and referees should recognize these factors and use additional caution to watch for potential cold injuries. If players do get wet during training or play, remove wet or saturated clothing and replace it with dry clothing. This becomes more important if the individual will remain out of play or anticipates standing around for a prolonged period of time. A hat, gloves and extra pair of socks can also keep extremities dry in case of snow or rain.

Stay Hydrated

Cold weather often reduces our ability to recognize that we are becoming dehydrated. If you are thirsty you have already become dehydrated. Try putting warm or hot water in a water bottle so that your water doesn’t freeze when training for extended amounts of time outside.

Take Action

If someone is suffering from a cold-related illness, get him or her into a warm location as soon as possible. Identify a nearby warming location before the start of training or play.During games provide blankets or other items for players to stay warm while they are on the bench and allow additional substitutions or warming breaks.

Wind Chill

Pay attention to the wind chill temperature. Even prolonged exposure in relatively mild temperatures can lead to frostbite.

Please note that in addition to the temperature-related guidelines listed below, decision-makers should also factor in the field conditions when determining whether an outdoor activity should go ahead. In instances where the ground is frozen for example, no practice or game activity should be conducted regardless of the temperature and/or wind-chill factor.

15U and Above:

Temperature of 32°F or above and/or Wind Chill Factor 32°F or above (DRY):

No restriction on outdoor activity  

Temperature of 40°F or above and/or Wind Chill Factor of 40°F or above with precipitation:

No restriction on outdoor activity, but coaches should be sensitive to the needs of individual players 

Temperature of 32°F-39°F and/or Wind Chill Factor of 32°F-39°F with precipitation:

75 minutes of total exposure. Athletes should be dressed in warm-ups with extremities covered

Temperature of 31°F or lower and/or Wind Chill Factor of 31°F or lower with precipitation:

No outside exposure

Temperature of 16°F - 31°F and/or Wind Chill Factor of 16°F - 31°F (DRY):

75 minutes of total exposure. Warm-ups must be worn at all times, extremities covered

Temperature of 15°F or lower and/or Wind Chill Factor of 15°F or lower:

No outside activities

12U - 14U

Temperature of 40°F or above and/or Wind Chill Factor 40°F or above:

No restriction on outdoor activity  

Temperature of 32°F-39°F and/or Wind Chill Factor of 32°F-39°F with precipitation:

60 minutes of total exposure. Athletes must be dressed in warm-up with extremities covered

Temperature of 32°F-39°F and/or Wind Chill Factor 32°F-39°F (DRY):

75 minutes of total exposure. Athletes should be in warm-ups with extremities covered

Temperature of 31°F or lower and/or Wind Chill Factor of 31°F or lower with precipitation:

No outside activities

Temperature of 16°F - 31°F and/or Wind Chill Factor of 16°F - 31°F (DRY):

60 minutes of total exposure. Warm-ups must be worn at all times, extremities covered

Temperature of 15°F or lower and/or Wind Chill Factor of 15°F or lower:

No outside activities

10U - 11U

Temperature of 40°F or above and/or Wind Chill Factor 40°F or above (DRY):

No restriction on outdoor activity  

Temperature of 33°F-45°F and/or Wind Chill Factor of 33°F-45°F with precipitation:

45 minutes of total exposure. Athletes must be dressed in warm-ups with extremities covered

Temperature of 32°F-39°F and/or Wind Chill Factor 32°F-39°F (DRY):

60 minutes of total exposure. Athletes should be in warm-ups with extremities covered

Temperature of 31°F or lower and/or Wind Chill Factor of 31°F or lower with precipitation:

No outside activities

Temperature of 16°F - 31°F and/or Wind Chill Factor of 16°F - 31°F (DRY):

45 minutes of total exposure. Warm-ups must be worn at all times, extremities covered

Temperature of 15°F or lower and/or Wind Chill Factor of 15°F or lower:

No outside activities

08U and Below Age Groups:

Temperature of 40°F-49°F and/or Wind Chill Factor of 40°F-49°F with precipitation:

45 minutes of total exposure. Athletes should be dressed in warm-ups with extremities covered

Temperature of 40°F-49°F and/or Wind Chill Factor 40°F-49°F (DRY):

60 minutes of total exposure. Athletes should be in warm-ups with extremities covered

Temperature of 32°F-39°F and/or Wind Chill Factor 32°F-39°F (DRY):

45 minutes of total exposure. Athletes must be in warm-ups with extremities covered

Temperature of 39°F or below and/or Wind Chill Factor 39°F or below with precipitation

Temperature of 31°F or below and/or Wind Chill Factor 31°F or below (DRY)

No outdoor activity


COMMON COLD RELATED ILLNESSES

Frostbite

Frostbite is what happens when skin and tissue actually begins freezing. It can cause numbness, tingling or stinging in the affected area. The skin may also lose its natural color, turning pale or bluish. Frostbite can permanently damage body tissue, leading to the loss of an extremity in severe cases. The most commonly affected areas for frostbite include: nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Use body heat or warm (but not hot) water to begin warming the affected area

Recognize

Swelling/Edema • Redness or mottled gray skin appearance • Tingling or burning • Blisters • Numbness or loss of sensation

Recover

Gradually rewarm affected area with warm water

WARNING: • Do not rub or massage the frostbitten area. This may actually increase the damage. • Do not use heating pads, heat lamps or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming since affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is the result of your internal body temperature dropping to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) or less. It can be fatal if not detected promptly and treated properly. Hypothermia typically begins with feelings of intense cold, shivering and behavior which are more quiet and disengaged than normal. As the condition worsens, the individual seems confused, sleepy and may begin slurring speech. To begin treating hypothermia, start by warming the center of the individual’s body first. Make sure they are dry and cover them with layers of blankets, clothing, towels or whatever else is around to contain their body heat. Warm nonalcoholic beverages may also help increase body temperature. If hypothermia is suspected, get the on-site medical provider or call 911.

Recognize

Shivering vigorously or suddenly not shivering • Increased blood pressure • Lethargy • Impaired mental function • Slurred speech

Recover

Remove damp/wet clothing • Apply heat to the trunk of the body, not limbs • Provide warm fluids and food • Avoid applying friction massage to tissues

WARNING: Do not use a hot shower or bath to treat hypothermia because it could cause the individual to go into shock.

Lightning Policy 

Background: Lightning is the most consistent and significant weather hazard that may affect interscholastic athletes. Within the United States, the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) estimates more than 100 fatalities and 400-500 injuries requiring medical treatment occur from lighting strikes every year. While the probability of being struck by lightning is extremely low, the odds are significantly greater when a storm is in the area and the proper safety precautions are not followed.

Safe Location Definition:

Primary Location - Any building normally occupied or frequently used by people. Example: Building with plumbing and/or electrical wiring that acts to electrically ground the structure. Avoid using shower facilities for safe shelter and or do not use the showers plumbing facilities during thunderstorm.

Secondary Location - In the absence of a sturdy, frequently inhabited building, any vehicle with a hard metal roof (not a convertible or golf cart) and rolled-up windows can provide a measure of safety. A vehicle is certainly better than remaining outdoors. It is not the rubber tires that make a vehicle a safe shelter, but the hard metal roof, which dissipates the lightning strike around the vehicle. DO NOT TOUCH THE SIDES OF THE VEHICLE

Avoid being in or near: High places and open fields, isolated trees, unprotected gazebos, rain or picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communications towers, flagpoles, light poles, bleachers (metal or wood), metal fences, convertibles, golf carts, water (ocean, lakes, swimming pools, rivers, etc.)

When inside a building, avoid: The use of the telephone, taking a shower, washing your hands, doing dishes, or any contact with conductive surfaces with exposure to the outside such as metal door or window frames, electrical wiring, telephone wiring, cable TV wiring, plumbing, etc.

Use of a Lightning App such as WeatherBug:

All on-field activities will be suspended if a lightning strike is shown on a Lightning app such as WeatherBug within 10 miles of the venue. Activities will not commence until no further lightning strikes are shown within 8 miles for a period of 30 minutes.  

The “30-30” Lightning Safety Rules:

To estimate the distance between you and a lighting flash, use the ‘Flash to Bang’ method. The Flash to Bang method is the most reliable, easiest and most convenient way to estimate how far away lightning is occurring. Thunder always accompanies lightning, even though its audible range can be diminished due to background noise in the immediate environment, and its distance from the observer. Audible range of thunder is about 8-10 miles. The premise upon which the ‘Flash to Bang’ method is based is the fact that light travels faster than sound, which travels at a speed of approximately one mile every 5 seconds.

How to use Flash to Bang Count the number of seconds, once lightning is sighted, until the thunder (bang) is heard. Divide by 5 to obtain how far away (in miles) the lightning is occurring. Example: If an individual counts 15 seconds between seeing the flash and hearing the bang, 15 divided by five equals three; therefore, the lightning flash is approximately three miles away. Play is suspended as Flash to Bang method reaches 30 seconds. This indicates the lightning is at the 6-mile range.

Lightning awareness should be increased with the first flash of lightning or the first clap of thunder, no matter how far away. This activity must be treated as a wakeup call to those monitoring inclement weather. The important aspect to monitor is how far away the lightning is occurring, and how fast the storm is approaching, relative to the distance of to safer shelter. As a minimum, the National Severe Storm Laboratory (NLSS) and NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports strongly recommend that by the time the observer obtains a FLASH TO BANG count of 30 seconds, all individuals should have left the athletics site and reached a safe structure or location. Athletic events may need to be terminated. The existence of blue sky and the absence of rain are not protection from lightning. Lightning can and does, strike as far as 10 miles away from the rain shaft. It does not have to be raining for lightning to strike.

Criteria for suspension of activities - By the time Flash to Bang count approaches 30 seconds, all individuals should already be inside a safe shelter.

Criteria for resumption of activities - Wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound (thunder) or observation of lightning before leaving the safe shelter to resume activities.

Safety Position without shelter -  Kneeling fetal position with hands covering ears, feet must be together, make yourself as close to the ground as possible.


Air Quality Policy 

SSA uses www.airnow.gov as the primary resource to determine air quality and the suitability of conditions for practice:

Air Quality Index Levels:

Good (Green) - 0 to 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk. Practice plans not affected.

Moderate (Yellow) - 51 to 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. Practice plans not affected.

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange) - 101 to 150. Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected. Practices are adjusted with respect to duration and intensity while children with extra sensitivity to pollutants should not practice.

Unhealthy (Red) - 151 to 200. Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Practices are cancelled in most instances.