FHSAA Board Continues Emphasis on Safety, Creates Water and Hydration Break Policy
GAINESVILLE-- Reinforcing its commitment to safeguarding the health of student-athletes, the Florida High School Athletic Association's Board of Directors adopted new heat-related policies designed to ensure that young athletes drink plenty of water and do not practice too many hours each week. The Board adopted the changes as it met for the final time during the 2011-2012 school year.
The Board decided to:
- Limit weekly practice time to 18 hours
- Ensure that for every 30 minutes of practice, there must be a minimum five-minute rest and hydration break
- Require unrestricted access to water for athletes at all times
- Require coaches and others in authority to never deny a student-athlete access to water if requested
"With the situations that have occurred in the past from heat-related issues, both within Florida and across the nation, we believe it is essential to take every extra precaution to keep our student-athletes safe," said FHSAA Executive Director Roger Dearing.
These new policies came on the heels of April's Board meeting, at which the Board approved the adoption of a new concussion and heat-related illness form intended to create safety awareness among students and their caretakers by explaining the risks and symptoms associated with each problem.
In other matters, the Board also approved a revised application from the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA) for affiliate membership in the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), and unanimously voted to lift the remaining two years of Oviedo High School's three-year postseason ban after considering the corrective actions taken.
The SIAA had come before the Board at the April business meeting and after working with FHSAA staff leading up to last week's meeting, presented a modified proposal. After reviewing the material, the Board granted approval of the SIAA's application.
In considering the Oviedo situation, the Board was sensitive to the remaining student-athletes who were denied the opportunity to participate in postseason play due to the actions of former coaches and students. Oviedo's wrestling program will now be eligible to compete in the postseason beginning this upcoming year and the restrictive probation penalty will be held in abeyance, provided no other violations are committed by the athletic program during the two upcoming school years.
The Board also:
- Ratified the election of Grand Ridge Middle School Principal Randy Ward to be Section 1 public school representative and Braddock High School Athletic Director Kevin Whelan to be Section 4 public school representative
- Ratified the re-election of First Academy Athletic Director Darrell Don to be Section 2 non-public school representative and Miami Christian Athletic Director James Colzie to be Section 4 private school representative
- Confirmed the following individuals to serve on their respective Sectional Appeals Committees: Gainesville High School Athletic Director Cindy Boulware (Section 1, at-large public, first term), Springstead High School Principal Susan Duval (Section 2, at-large public, first term), Strawberry Crest Assistant Principal Christina Raburn (Section 3, at-large public, second term) and Upperroom Christian Academy Principal Jimmie Butler (Section 4, at-large private, second term)
- Selected incumbent Deltona High School Athletic Director Jim Gawriluk to serve on the FHSAA's Representative Assembly
- Amended Girls Lacrosse Rule 7-27 to chage the wording from "third card" to "fourth card" with regard to playing shorthanded for every card the team receives after the fourth card, mirroring United States Lacrosse rules