Looking to minimize risk and maximize student safety, a bill requiring all school districts participating in interscholastic sport programs to adopt the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (NJSIAA) high heat and humidity practice policy was approved by the Assembly Education Committee on Monday.
The bill (A-4754) would mandate schools to follow the NJSIAA guidelines, which provide criteria to assess weather conditions and determine if it is safe to continue with a scheduled practice or game, stipulating appropriate intervals for hydration and breaks.
Sponsors of the bill, Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Nancy Pinkin, released the following statements:
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen): “New Jersey can proudly tout itself as having the most comprehensive health and safety policies for its student athletes. But following last year’s incident in my very own district, where five Bergen Arts and Science Charter School students suffered heat stroke during gym, it is clear there is more work to be done. Under this bill, we can reaffirm New Jersey’s commitment to putting student safety first.”
Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex): “Heat stroke from practicing or playing in hot weather can bring on sudden cardiac arrest, causing otherwise healthy student athletes to suffer. By enacting this legislation, we can arm schools with the appropriate tools and guidelines for safe and responsible action.”
Under the legislation, every school athletic and practice field would need to be equipped with a Wet-Build Globe Temperature tool to measure heat stress, which accounts for temperature, humidity, wind speed, angle of the sun and cloud coverage.
The bill heads to the Speaker for further review.