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Weather Policy and Safety Procedures

Nolensville Panthers

Position Statement and Guidelines for Weather Related Participation and Safety Procedures

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nolensville panthers weather heat safety policy.pdf

As a member of the Tennessee Youth Football League (TNYFL), we are bound by the rules (1) National Federation of State High School Association Rules (NFHS), (2) any TNYFL rules that supersede the NFHS Rulebook and (3) local guidelines which cover our facility and organization.  Our local guidelines cannot be in conflict or supersede any NFHS or TNYFL published rules or guidelines. 

We take the health and well-being of all participants and spectators very seriously in our assessments of any weather related situations.   Decisions to continue play or practice are evaluated as the need arises and take into account several factors.   Decisions are communicated directly to each head coach by the Director, Assistant Director, other member of the Nolensville Panthers Board of Directors, or any member of the Nolensville Rec Board of Directors.

Remember, that any additional guidelines are for our community only. If no NFHS or TNYFL is dictated, we will follow our guidelines for home play and practices. In other words, we have no influence or control over other communities and the policies they establish. 

Head Coaches have full authority to suspend from any unsafe situation they deem necessary. Head Coaches may contact the Director or Assistant Director to notify the organization of any unsafe condition.  In all cases, parents have the absolute right to not allow their son/daughter participate, if they feel conditions are unsafe.  Those decisions should be discussed with your head coach.

Storm Related Weather Conditions

In the event of rain or storm conditions, the policy on whether to cancel or postpone practices or games is determined by the game officials, Nolensville Rec Board or the Nolensville Panthers.

If games are postponed or cancelled, we will follow guidelines to replay those games as outlined in the TNYFL rulebook. The decision on days and times of the rescheduled games are determined with consultation with the visiting community, TNYFL, TNYFL officials and the Nolensville Panthers. Rescheduled games may be played on Sundays.

Weather related delays due to lighting are outlined in the NFHS rulebook and guidelines attached.

Temperature (Heat) Related Weather Conditions

Since the NFHS and TNYFL do not address temperature related weather conditions by rule, The Nolensville Panthers use the current Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA) policy as our guideline. The TSSAA Heat policy is the minimum standard that we will follow.

The TSSAA Heat policy will prohibit practicing or competing when the heat index at the location of the activity is in excess of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  A heat index chart is attached.

That heat index (Wet Bulb) reading is taken at our fields and a determination is made to continue, cancel or modify practices or games. That decision is communicated directly to head coaches by the Director, Assistant Director, any member of the Nolensville Panthers Board of Directors, or any member of the Nolensville Rec Board of Directors.

As a host community for games, we will treat all heat related delays and postponements as any other weather (ie. rain, lighting. etc.) event. Our first goal is to reschedule within the same day (if possible) or postponed until another day and time. 

If during play and as the host community, the heat index is determined to be between 100 and 104 degrees we will provide the following (at a minimum) to all teams and communities at our fields: (1) a cooler filled with ice on each bench; (2) a water cooler filled with cold (iced) water on each bench. These coolers will be replenished as needed for each team. Additional shade from tents will be allowed near benches and sidelines. Visiting communities will be allowed any necessary cooler or shade accessories as they deem proper. All necessary stoppages of play due to additional water breaks are controlled by game officials and determined by rule.

In situations where the heat index is below 100 degrees, we will make every reasonable effort to ensure player and spectator safety, which may include the above items or other accommodations to ensure safe play. 

The NFHS outlines recommendations for hydration to minimize heat illness. Their guidelines are attached.


The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a default policy to those responsible for making

decisions concerning the suspension and restarting of contests based on the presence of lightning.

The preferred sources from which to request such a policy for your facility would include your

state high school association and the nearest office of the National Weather Service.

Proactive Planning

1. Assign staff to monitor local weather conditions before and during events.

2. Develop an evacuation plan, including identification of appropriate nearby shelters.

3. Develop criteria for suspension and resumption of play:

a.       When thunder is heard, or a cloud-to-ground lightning bolt is seen, the thunderstorm is

close enough to strike your location with lightning. Suspend play and take shelter immediately.

b.      Thirty-minute rule. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the

last thunder is heard or flash of lightning is witnessed prior to resuming play.

c.       Any subsequent thunder or lightning after the beginning of the 30 minute count, reset

the clock and another 30 minute count should begin.

4. Hold periodic reviews for appropriate personnel.

For more detailed information, refer to the "Guidelines for Lightning Safety" section contained

in the NFHS Sports Medicine Handbook.


National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC)


·         Appropriate hydration before, during, and after exercise is an important ingredient to healthy and successful sports participation.

·         Rapid weight loss represents a loss of body water. A loss of just 1-2% of body weight (1.5 to 3 pounds for a 150 pound athlete) can negatively impact performance. A loss of 3% or more of body weight can increase the risk for exertional heat related illness.

·         Athletes should be weighed before and after warm weather practice sessions and contests to assess fluid losses.

·         Athletes with high body fat percentages can become dehydrated faster than athletes with lower body fat percentages while working out under the same environmental conditions.

·         All athletes have different sweating rates and some lose much more salt through their sweat than others.

·         Poor acclimatization/fitness levels can greatly contribute to an athlete’s dehydration problems.

·         Medications and fevers can each greatly contribute to an athlete’s dehydration problems and risk for heat illness.

·         Environmental temperatures and humidity both contribute to dehydration and heat illness.

·         Clothing, such as dark, bulky, or rubber protective equipment can drastically increase the chance of dehydration and heat illness.

·         Wet bulb temperature measurements should be taken 10-15 minutes before practices or contests. The results should be used with a heat index to determine if practices or contests should be started, modified, or stopped.

·         Even dry climates can have high humidity if sprinkler systems are scheduled to run before early morning practices start. This collection of water does not evaporate until environmental temperatures increase and dew points lower.

·         A heat index chart should be followed to determine if practices/contests should be held. The NOAA National Weather Service’s heat index chart can be found at:

·         The heat index for your location can be determined by entering your postal zip code into the OSAA Heat Index Calculator at the Oregon School Activities Association’s web site found at:

·         A relative humidity of 35 percent and a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit are likely to cause heat illness, with heat stroke likely.

·         A relative humidity of 70 percent and a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit are very likely to cause heat illness, with heat stroke very likely.


·         For most exercising athletes, the ideal fluid for pre-hydration and re-hydration is water. Water is quickly absorbed, well tolerated, an excellent thirst quencher, and cost effective.

·         The use of a sports drink with appropriate carbohydrates (CHO) and sodium as described below may prove beneficial in some general situations and for some individuals.

·         Traditional sports drinks with appropriate CHO and sodium may provide additional benefit in the following general situations:

o   Prolonged continuous activity of greater than 45 minutes

o   Extremely intense activity with risk of heat injury

o   Extremely hot and humid conditions

·         Traditional sports drinks with appropriate CHO and sodium may provide additional benefit for the following individual conditions:

o   Poor hydration prior to participation

o   Increased sweat rate

o   Poor caloric intake prior to participation

o   Poor acclimatization to heat and humidity

·         A 6-8% addition of CHO to water is the maximum that should be utilized. Any greater concentration will produce slow emptying from the stomach and a bloated feeling to the athlete.

·         The other ingredient that may be helpful is a low concentration ( 0.3 - 0.7 g/L) of sodium which may help with cramping.

·         All fluids should be served cold to optimize gastric emptying.


·         Fruit juices with greater than 8 percent carbohydrate content and soda can both result in a bloated feeling and abdominal cramping.

·         Beverages containing caffeine, alcohol, and carbonation are not to be used because of the high risk of dehydration associated with excess urine production, or decreased voluntary fluid intake.

·         Athletes should be aware that nutritional supplements are not limited to pills and powders; many of these new fluids contain stimulants such as caffeine and/or ephedrine.

o   These stimulants may increase the risk of heart or heat illness problems when exercising.

o   Many of these drinks are being produced by traditional water, soft drink, and sports drink companies and may provide confusion to the sports community. As is true with other forms of supplements these "power drinks or fluid supplements" are not regulated by the FDA. Thus, the purity and accuracy of contents on the label are not guaranteed.

o   Many of these beverages, which claim to provide additional power, energy, etc., have additional ingredients that are not necessary, some that are potentially harmful, and some that actually include substances banned by such governing bodies as the NCAA and the USOC.


·         In general, athletes do not voluntarily drink sufficient water to prevent dehydration during physical activity.

·         Drink early, by the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

·         Drink before, during, and after practices and games. Specifically, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following:

o   Drink 16 ounces of fluid 2 hours before exercise.

o   Drink another 8 to 16 ounces 15 minutes before exercise.

o   During exercise, drink 4 to 16 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.

o   After exercise, drink 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise to achieve normal fluid statue within 6 hours.

·         The volume and color of your urine is an excellent way of determining if you’re well hydrated. Large amounts of clear urine mean your hydrated, small amounts of dark urine mean that you need to drink more! A Urine Color Chart can be accessed at:

·         The NFHS SMAC strongly recommends that coaches, certified athletic trainers, physicians, and other school personnel working with athletes not provide or encourage use of any beverages for hydration of these youngsters other than water and appropriate sports drinks that meet the above criteria. They should also make information on the potential harm and lack of benefit associated with many of these other beverages available to parents and athletes.


Casa DJ, Armstrong LE, Hillman SK, Montain SJ, Reiff RV, Rich BSE, Roberts WO, Stone JA. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. Journal of Athletic Training. 35(2):212-224, 2000. McKeag DB, Moeller JL. ACSM’s Primary Care Sports Medicine. 2nd Ed, Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007.