A reminder of heat and lightning safety as high school football starts up again
When lightning is seen or thunder is heard, play is suspended until all is clear. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
High school football teams around the area have been gearing up for this year's season, which starts tonight! With heat and isolated storms in the forecast, what happens during games if weather interrupts play?
As many football fans know, each team is given three timeouts per half. That adds up to twelve opportunities for teams to catch their breath or drink some fluids.
Sometimes that may not be enough for players, especially with all of the heat and humidity we've seen recently. Temperatures have soared into the 90s each day this week, but heat index values have been higher.
Game officials do have the choice to call extra timeouts, not charged to either team, if they feel the players need a break from the heat. Local referee, Larry Honeycutt, said officials play an important role during games to observe players.
Honeycutt said, "We can tell how they're doing. If they don't look so good, in spite of all their conditioning...it's hot!!"
"It's hot out there and they're in real playing conditions unlike they've been in before and playing for that length of time, four quarters. If there are signs and symptoms indicating to us that we need to take more breaks, we can do that."
Heading into his 48th year of officiating, Honeycutt has experienced a number of toasty football games. He said officials try to take a break around the six minute mark of each quarter, called a "Heat and Humidity Timeout."
With the heat, comes the potential for storms.
According to guidelines by the National Federation of State High School Associations, school administrators have proactive plans for lightning threats, such as monitoring the weather and an evacuation plan for fans, players, and coaches.
If lightning is seen or thunder is heard during a game, play is suspended and cannot resume until there have been 30 minutes without any lightning or thunder.