Some Texas Coaches Are Prepping for Climate Changes, Others Not

Medscape Staff

August 16, 2022

Coaches and athletic officials in Texas have indicated that many are aware of the risks their students face amid rising temperatures because of climate change and are planning accordingly, according to Rice University researchers who conducted the statewide study.

What to know:

  • Hundreds of coaches and athletic directors at Texas high schools, colleges, and universities say they are aware of the dangers of intensive workouts and strenuous events and that temperatures above 95° F can put athletes at risk of heat-related illnesses.

  • A 2021 report from the Texas State Climatologist's office said Texans should expect the number of 100° F days each summer to nearly double by 2036 compared to the average numbers from 2001–2020.

  • The athletic staff indicated they're keeping a close eye on damaging heat, humidity, and wet bulb temperatures, yet not all agree they should adjust schedules or cancel practice as necessary, indicating that there may be a lack of understanding among athletic staff in how humidity affects the perceived temperature.

  • Wet bulb temperature is the temperature of a parcel of air at 100% humidity.. It is the point at which sweat no longer cools the body, which can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and exertional heat illness.

  • Almost a third of the athletic staff involved in the study placed heavier emphasis on and were more concerned about the impact of temperature than climate change, declining to acknowledge climate change or its implications for the health of athletes and their programs.

This is a summary of the article, "Increasing Health Risks During Outdoor Sports Due to Climate Change in Texas: Projections vs. Attitudes," published by American Geophysical Union journal GeoHealth on August 1, 2022. The full article can be found on agu pubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

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