Football programs try to acclimate to new PIAA rule

The way high school football teams kick off practice this month has changed throughout Pennsylvania.

A new PIAA policy requires teams to go through pre-season heat acclimatization.

Under the policy, practices have to be three days in a row, there needs to be a hydration plan and practice sessions during the acclimatization cannot be longer than three hours.

It serves as a precursor before all the gridiron grunt work really starts.

It's up to the schools to come up with a plan. One option is to have the practices before the formal start next Monday, August 12.

That's what Trinity High School opted to do.

“It gives us a little bit of a head start on some of the things that we would do later on,” Trinity Head Coach Bill Ragni said.

And yes, the practices need to happen, even if the weather right now is anything but sweltering.

“We are in a day and age where we are doing everything we can to
ensure safety of kids the best we can,” PIAA associate executive
director Melissa Mertz said.

However, not everyone is thrilled with the new game plan.

“If you are going to wait until now to get kids acclimated to the heat, you are doing them a disservice. You are actually hurting them,” Mechanicsburg High School Head Football Coach Chris Hakel said.

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