Valley schools make changes to protect athletes during upcoming heat wave

Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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Visalia and Tulare Unified School District leaders said they are monitoring the weather and making adjustments to protect all students.

VISALIA, Calif. -- Despite the heat, student-athletes throughout the Central Valley have been gearing up for game nights.

But school administrators are preparing to make some changes.

Heat strokes are the last thing any coach wants for their players. Visalia and Tulare Unified School District leaders told Action News they are always one step ahead, monitoring the weather to protect all students.

John Perez, Visalia Unified's Director of Athletics, said anything surpassing triple digits is when they look at making adjustments.

"Yesterday, I met with all four high school directors. We made changes to some of our football games, our tennis matches, cross country, things like that," he said.

Visalia and Tulare Unified districts made similar changes, like adjusting the length of Friday night football games.

"When temps rise, we will add an LDN, a doctor or assistant physician on the sidelines. We ask coaches to ask athletes to remove their helmets if they are not in the game," said Dereck Domingues with the Tulare Unified School District Director of Child Welfare and Safety.

While school officials hope temperatures start to cool down for the season, both districts say the health and safety of their students is their top priority.

"We want them to participate in a game, have fun and leave the fame feeling good. We don't want to see athletes leave the field in an ambulance," he said.

Perez and Domingues said they work well with other local school districts when making adjustments on game nights.