Turns out, it’s still hot. The mercury isn’t rising as high, but it still feels like punishment being outside in the humidity. The Red Cross sent out these reminders about staying safe toward the end of summer:
Amid one of the hottest summers on record in many states, practice for fall sports has already begun. It is important to remember that extreme heat is especially dangerous for athletes. To help ensure the well-being of athletes, the American Red Cross has tips to keep players safe during hot weather activity including hydration and acclimatization.
“Keeping athletes safe during extreme temperatures is as important as getting them ready for the upcoming season,” said Dr. David Markenson, chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “One of the most important thing athletes can do is stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids like water or sports drinks with electrolytes before, during and after practice – even if you are not thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol,” Markenson added.
During the hot weather, team practices should be scheduled for early in the day and later in the evening to avoid exposing players to the hottest times of the day. Other steps teams, schools and parents should take to protect their athletes include:
- Allow athletes to get acclimated to the heat by reducing the intensity of practice until they are more accustomed to it.
- Make frequent, longer breaks a regular part of practice. About every 20 minutes stop for fluids and try to keep the athletes in the shade if possible.
- Reduce the amount of heavy equipment—like football pads—athletes wear in extremely hot, humid weather.
- Dress athletes, when appropriate, in net-type jerseys or light-weight, light-colored, cotton T-shirts and shorts.
- Know the signs of heat-related emergencies and monitor athletes closely.
“Knowing the signs of heat-related emergencies and how to help someone who is suffering from the heat is vital,” Markenson stressed. “Coaches and parents need to be vigilant in watching for signs of heat-related emergencies. Athletes should inform their coaches, teachers or parents if they are not feeling well.”
Heat illness is when the body temperature rises because of exertion. If a person’s body temperature hits 103 degrees, that means the person is suffering from heat exhaustion. If a person’s body temperature hits 104 degrees or higher, that means the person is suffering from heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is caused by a combination of exercise induced heat and fluid and electrolyte loss from sweating. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion. To help someone with these symptoms:
- Move the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing. Spray him or her with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water cool water or a sports drink with electrolytes to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in his or her condition.
- If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Heat stroke (also known as sunstroke) is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself.
- Signs of heat stroke include those of heat exhaustion and hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; change or loss of consciousness; seizures; vomiting; and high body temperature.
- Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
- Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. If unable to immerse them, continue rapid cooling by applying bags of ice or cold packs wrapped in a cloth to the wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits, spraying with water and/or fanning.
Exertional heat stroke is the leading cause of preventable death in high school athletics, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Deaths from heat stroke are preventable and precautions need to be taken around summer heat hazards.
First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches, an online course jointly developed with the National Federation of State High School Associations, will be available soon. Until then, you can learn how to prevent and respond to heat-related and other emergencies by taking a First Aid/CPR/AED course. Visit redcross.org/training to register.
Whether your young athlete gets a kick out of karate or soccer, protecting your active family from sports-related injuries and ailments is no game. When it comes to prevention, a good defense is always the best offense. Here are some guidelines:
- Prevent heat-related emergencies by keeping athletes well hydrated before practice and competition. Encourage them to take frequent water breaks and to wear net-type or lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Greatly reduce the risk of injury by ensuring that each workout begins with at least 10 minutes of warm-up and ends with at least 10 minutes of cool-down activities.
- Discourage an injured athlete from returning to play simply because pain is minimal — absence of pain may not mean the injury is not serious. For injuries causing pain, swelling or redness, do not instruct the athlete to “walk it off.” Movement may aggravate the injury.
- Help prevent “staph” bacteria, including the potentially fatal MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), by reminding your athlete to:
– Never share towels or personal sports gear such as helmets, mitts or shin guards.
– Put a towel down on benches or exercise machines before using them.
-Wash sports clothing after each use.
To learn how to prevent injuries and how to respond to emergencies, attend a Sports Safety Training or First Aid/CPR/ AED program offered by the Red Cross by visiting redcross.org/take-a-class.
Go to about 2:35 and you can see the studnets of Edwards Elementary. They even get a special shout out at the end (4:05).
Robin Hill School District’s parent-teacher association will host a grand opening for the school’s new playground 11 a.m. Feb. 23 at the school, 4801 E Franklin Road.
Parents and students have spent the last two years raising the more than $50,000 needed to purchase and install the new equipment. The old equipment was beyond repair, according to school officials.
Robin Hill School District is located between Moore and Norman. The school has about 200 students enrolled in prekindergarten through eighth grades.
The playground’s color theme is red, white, and blue. Students will release balloons in the same colors at the grand opening.
“We are very proud of our group’s accomplishment in reaching our goals for this playground project and want to share this joy with our community,” said Betty Chagaris, PTA president.
I was up earlier than usual this morning to cover International Walk to School Day. I went to Western Village Academy, a charter school in northwest Oklahoma City that accepts all students in the neighborhood.
The morning weather was brisk – cool enough that I could see my breath when I reached the school just after 7 a.m. – but invigorating, too.
You can read more about the walk at Western Village and watch a video about it tomorrow on NewsOK.com.
In the meantime, I’d like to know: Did you walk to school growing up, and do you let your children walk now?
Houston administrators plan to reopen about 120 of the district’s 300 schools tomorrow, and will roll out the rest as electricity is restored and damage repaired from Hurricane Ike, according to this Houston Chronicle story.
The list of open schools will be updated on the district’s Web site, and officials are thinking about how to make up the lost time.
This is similar to how Oklahoma City Public Schools recovered from the devastating ice storm last December – cancelling classes for a week, then opening all the buildings that were safe for children as they were ready.
Meanwhile, many commenters on the Chronicle story sounded off about what’s expected of teachers, and if it’s realistic or fair to expect them to all be back in the classroom at a moment’s notice while they’re still coping with the personal impact of the storm.
What advice would you share from your ice storm experience with parents and teachers in southern Texas as they roll out their school reopenings? Post it here.
Hurricane Ike’s waves are still rippling.
Toyota representatives who came to Oklahoma City to present a hybrid Prius to the 2009 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year today weren’t present at the ceremony.
They were with Gulf States Toyota — based in Houston — and had to return home to clean up from Ike, said Tim O’Toole, president and general manager of the Oklahoma State Fair.
O’Toole extended some words of thanks and hope to the representatives and others in the hurricane’s path before stepping aside for the teacher recognition program to continue.
Check out NewsOK.com and tomorrow’s Oklahoman for more about the state’s new Teacher of the Year, math teacher Heather Sparks of Taft Middle School in Oklahoma City.
Schools already are designated gun-free, drug-free zones, and West Virginia is moving toward adding “idle-free” to the list.
The state’s Department of Environment Protection is entering the second year of a program that provides school boards, Head Start programs and private schools with signs declaring them idle-free, according to this Charleston Daily Mail story.
The state already prohibits school buses from idling unless it’s below 40 degrees outside. Officials hope the signs will encourage parents to do the same.
Are financial or environmental concerns enough to convince you to cut your engine while you wait for your children to get out of school? Share your comments here.
When New Yorkers say that 90 degrees is sweltering, I’ll no longer look at our weather map of triple-digit temperatures and scoff.
Here, we go from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned car to an air conditioned workplace.
In New York City at an education seminar this past weekend, I went from an air conditioned hotel to a subway station more appropriately referred to as a sauna, then up the stairs to conquer a few more blocks of pavement before reaching my air conditioned destination.
All with my laptop bag on my shoulder. So heat is all relative. This is one of the things I learned at the Hechinger Institute’s seminar for new education reporters.
Lifestyle differences aside, I learned an incredible amount about reporting on education. I was an eager student for three days, absorbing everything I could from the speakers and taking copious notes for everything I could possibly need to review later on.
I want to share a few interesting notes with you.
Oklahoma singled out
First, Oklahoma got a shout-out in a session about prekindergarten.
Albert Wat with Pre-K Now cited the Sooner State in his presentation for having at least 70 percent of eligible students enrolled statewide. We’re one of only three states (Georgia and Florida are the others) to enroll more than 50 percent of all 4-year-olds.
He specifically talked about Tulsa, where a study showed that all races of students gained from one year of enrollment, and noted that Oklahoma pre-K teachers are paid equivalent to K-12 teachers, which he said doesn’t often happen.
A few degrees of separation
There was another Oklahoma tie in the presentation about academic rigor, even if by a stretch.
One of the two presenters was Jerry Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Schools.
If that school district sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the last place John Porter worked before moving from Maryland to Oklahoma for his abbreviated tenure as superintendent of Oklahoma City schools.
Working in uni(s)on
Another highlight was hearing from Randi Weingarten, who was elected president of the American Federation of Teachers just five days earlier.
Weingarten advocated for “real collaboration” — politically and practically.
Politically, that means doing reform with teachers, not to teachers, she said. And practically, she’d like to see a collaboration of services that put after-school enrichment, medical clinics and parent help in the school building.
‘Physicians of the mind’
During the Q&A afterward, I asked Weingarten what she thought the union’s role is in recruiting enough teachers in the first place.
“In this instance, money does matter a lot,” she answered. After boosting starting teacher salaries in New York City by more than $5,000 in 2005, the hiring halls were filled and the number of uncertified teachers fell from 17 to 2 percent, she said.
Teachers want to be treated as professionals in their quest to better the lives of their students and the institutions in which they work, she said, adding that “teachers are physicians of the mind.”
I’m thankful for the opportunities I had to learn from and network with experts and colleagues across the nation, and I can’t wait to start putting all my newfound story ideas and tips to work.
It was all made possible by the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Columbia University’s Teachers College, which is supported by various philanthropies, including the well known Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Oh, and I’m also thankful I won’t have to wait in underground, un-air conditioned subway stations again any time soon.
An economic squeeze and environmental awareness are generating incentives for schools to cut back their energy usage.
For instance, a Texas-based program called Watt Watchers encourages selected students to monitor classrooms, rewarding those that turn off lights at times like lunch and recess and leaving reminder notes on the doors of energy offenders.
In Hawaii, the education department recently notified more than 100 schools that they can receive rebates of between $2 and $45,000 for saving electricity. Another hundred-plus schools, though, have to reimburse the state thousands of dollars for excessive energy usage.
In Oklahoma, two education centers are listed on BuildGreenSchools.org as being registered with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): Oklahoma City Educare and Fort Sill’s Child Development Center.
What kind of incentives do you think would get Oklahoma schools to cut back their energy consumption?
I’d like to hear your ideas – especially from students – so share them here on NewsOK’s Education Station.
Wendy K. Kleinman
One week. It’s how long Oklahoma spends observing Arbor Day, and it’s how long people have left to get a free tree for fourth-graders to plant for the occasion.
I’ve never been very good at keeping indoor greenery alive. It seems I don’t put them in a place to get enough sunlight or I forget to water them one day. But outdoor trees get all the light there is from sunup to sundown and get water from either the rain or, in a dry spell, the sprinkler put out for the lawn.
Now, for the cost of shipping alone — $1.59 — Fourth Grade Foresters USA will send schools an individually packaged evergreen tree seedling to give a student to take home and plant.
Any person, organization or company can sponsor a tree, which will be sent with the sponsor’s name to a nearby school.
The trees are unsold seedlings that would otherwise be destroyed, and they are packaged by adults with disabilities through the Free Trees and Plants project (www.freetreesandplants.com).
Oklahoma Arbor Week is the last full week in March, and the deadline to sponsor a tree for a youngster is Feb. 23. To do so, contact Sarah Henne at 866-390-1428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you have any tips on how I can improve my own green thumb, send them to me at email@example.com.
Wendy K. Kleinman