Bay Area heat wave: How high school sports teams are adjusting to record temperatures

As record-breaking heat continued to engulf the Bay Area on Tuesday, high school sports coaches and administrators scrambled to change practice and game times to keep students safe.

At De La Salle in Concord, the cross-country team ran in the morning before school and the football team planned to practice in the evening.

Los Gatos has made similar adjustments.

The South Bay school won’t start any of its football practices before 6 p.m. this week, coach Mark Krail said. He added that there were would be more breaks to keep players hydrated.

“It was very bearable last night,” Krail said in a text message Tuesday.

The East Side Union High School District in San Jose canceled all outdoor activities scheduled for Tuesday, Evergreen Valley football coach and student advisor Gabe Resendez said in an email.

In addition to Evergreen Valley, the district includes Andrew Hill, Independence, James Lick, Mt. Pleasant, Oak Grove, Piedmont Hills, Santa Teresa, Silver Creek, Overfelt and Yerba Buena.

At Gunderson in San Jose, football coach Jason Harrison said practice times have been moved to no earlier than 5:15 p.m.

“Parents have been offering to provide ice-cold waters and Gatorades to the team,” he said.

At Monte Vista in Danville, players practiced early in the morning to avoid the triple-digit temperatures sweeping the Bay Area. 

“The grind doesn’t stop for us, as we have now switched our practices to 6-8:00 A.M., when it is a lot cooler,” Monte Vista junior Ewan Arechaederra said via text. “Obviously the heat is tough still, so coach emphasizes that we need to drink lots of water and eat all our meals.”

De La Salle athletic director Leo Lopoz said coaches and trainers at his school have been in communication about taking appropriate precautions.

“We were anticipating this last week, so we had conversations, including potentially moving games,” Lopoz said. “I am sure that is going to be a conversation for some schools depending on what the situation is. But as of right now, we haven’t had to do anything.”

De La Salle’s football team plays host to St. Francis on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but Lopoz said that could be changed if heat is a factor.

“We have a couple of days to see how it goes,” Lopoz said. “We’ve discussed moving game times and adjusting a bit there if needed. We’ll make a final call in the middle of the week. We’ve already been in conversation with St. Francis that if we do have to adjust game times, we’ll make that call in a couple of days. See how the forecast changes or not.”

Temperatures in Concord were expected to reach 112 degrees on Tuesday but drop to 96 by 7 p.m.

Los Gatos was predicted to hit 105 on Tuesday but fall to 94 by 6 p.m.

In San Jose, the forecast called for a projected high of 107 on Tuesday, but the temperature was expected to dip to 103 at 5 p.m., 100 at 6 p.m. and 95 at 7 p.m.

Friday’s projected highs are 99 in Concord, 95 in San Jose and 93 in Los Gatos.

“Obviously, we’re day to day,” Lopoz said.

The California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics, offers a section on its website titled “Heat Illness.”

The CIF notes there is a state law “that requires coaches when renewing their CPR/FIRST AID, Concussion and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) certification that they also complete separate training in the signs and symptoms of heat illness.”

The CIF adds, “Heat illness is a preventable tragedy. It is imperative that school leaders ensure, that those adults working directly with our students have the knowledge and ability to minimize risks and reduce injuries for the students they serve.”

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