Guido: PIAA eyes rules to reduce heat stroke risk
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Scholastic football players in Pennsylvania will likely have to undergo a heat acclimation program for preseason practice starting next year.
The PIAA Board of Directors on Thursday unanimously approved, on a first reading basis, a measure that would force schools to adopt a defined amount of practice time and a recovery period.
For instance, during the first three days of practice, no team may be on the field for more than three hours of practice.
Here are some other parts of the overall proposal, which must pass two more readings to become a rule.
• The maximum amount of practice in a day must not exceed five hours. A five-hour practice day must be followed by a three-hour practice day.
• A minimum three-hour recovery period must be provided for any practice session greater than two hours, even walkthroughs. This would probably be easy to follow since there's usually a lunch break and a film session between morning and afternoon practices.
The PIAA looked at a similar practice policy in New Jersey.
It will be interesting to see if there is any pushback from a coaches association or other entity wishing to modify at least part of the new proposal before the next two readings.
In other PIAA action last week in Hershey, the statewide organization enacted three rulings regarding transfers:
• If a student is expelled, or on the verge of being expelled and withdraws from a school, that student can't enroll at another school to avoid punishment that would have resulted in suspension from interscholastic athletics. If a student does transfer to another school, he would have to sit out a year of interscholastic athletic participation.
• A student who transfers because he was the victim of alleged bullying or harassment cannot play sports at a new school unless he proves that bullying actually took place and non-relatives can attest to the problem or if school personnel at the alleged offending school didn't — or were unable to — effectively address the problem.
• A student attending a court-adjudicated school can play sports at his original school once the judicial assignment has been completed.
If that student, however, transfers to any other school following judicial placement, that student has to sit out athletics for one year, unless evidence is clear there was no athletic intent to transfer.
The PIAA also said the number of ejections this past season in soccer rose 13 percent to 427 — 356 players and 63 coaches.
Football also had some culpability with 206 ejections this past season, a 20 percent increase.
And the son shall rise
One of the more highly recruited football players in suburban Atlanta this year has local ties.
Mikey Bart, son of 1979 Burrell graduate Tommy Bart, has announced he will accept a scholarship from South Florida.
A 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end from Buford, Ga., Bart was also recruited by North Carolina and Georgia Tech, among others. Bart's team won the Georgia Class AAA title last Friday, defeating St. Pius X, 10-3.
The elder Bart was among four players who held Burrell's record for five touchdowns in a game until Cole Bush broke the record with six TDs at Kittanning on Sept. 28.
Tommy Bart, who was drafted by the Pirates and attended Miami-Dade College, is in the restaurant business, owning several Zaxby's chicken restaurants in the Atlanta area.
George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.
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