In response to legislation passed this spring by the Maryland General Assembly the MPSSAA and MSDE have released the mandated model policy regarding preseason practice heat acclimatization for student-athletes to provide guidance in the formation of local policies by each school system. The model policy is the culmination of the efforts of a committee composed of representatives of MSDE, MPSSAA, local school systems, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Athletic Trainers Association, and Sports Medicine Physicians. Select the links above for more information.
The contents of the model policy include education of coaches, parents, athletic administrators, and student-athletes; important definitions; hydration awareness; environmental and non-environmental risk factors; a heat acclimatization timeline; and a basic emergency plan. The guidelines attempt to strike a safe balance between gradual introduction and assimilation into athletic competition alongside the need to properly teach safe playing techniques. The mitigation of other serious injuries must also be considered in any pre-season practice format.
Each school system is encouraged to carefully consider this model policy when formulating specific guidelines for acclimatization of student-athletes to warm weather conditions. Resources for all sections of the model policy may be found on the Health and Safety page of MPSSAA.org. Should you have any questions or desire any clarification, please contact our office.