Utilizing Artificial Turf In The Heat

If the National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory, the artificial turf and/or track may not be utilized if the air temperature is over 85 degrees combined with humidity reading of 60% or more. Due to the variety of levels of fitness and/or lack of consistent preparatory exertion in heat conditions, only a grass surface may be utilized. There must be water available outside (cooler, cups) for students if there is a heat advisory issued. If the National Weather Service issues a Heat Warning, physical education classes should not be held outside during the hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun is the highest in the sky.

During the first two weeks of the fall pre-season when the National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory or Warning, practices must be scheduled in the early morning or late evening when the sun is low in the sky to limit heat illness or stroke while athletes are getting acclimated. Practice may not be more than 1 hour in length. The turf and/or track may be used only if the surface temperature is below 100 degrees (heat index = air, field temperature and humidity combined) otherwise, a grass field must be utilized.

The guidelines below are for athletes who have been acclimated for at least 2 weeks. When the National Weather Service issues a Heat Warning for a minimum of 2 hours, there will be NO practice or play on an artificial turf or track surface during the full sun hours of 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Practice or game play on a grass surface may be no more than one hour in length and no equipment is to be worn (i.e. helmets and pads)

Guidelines for hydration and rest breaks:

  1. A heat gun will be utilized by the Athletic Director or a designee to determine field temperature
    2. Rest time will include no activity and unlimited hydration intake
    3. For football, helmets should be removed during rest time
    4. The site of the rest time should be a "cooling zone” and not in direct sunlight
    5. When the National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory/Warning: Ice towels and cooling fan will be utilized
    6. Subpolar suit will be available on site for cold immersion for any player showing signs of heat illness
    7. In the event of a game, if the risk is determined to be in the danger zone (Heat Advisory) according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Heat Index chart, the Athletic Director or designee will:

- Speak with visiting coaches prior to game day to inform them of the heat policy

- Meet with game officials and visiting coaches to discuss concerns

- Schedule an extra 5 minute break per half for hydration and rest

Possible scenarios for field use guidelines. The Chart provided includes many variables that should be used when making a final decision on artificial turf participation.

Heat Index Information

NWS Heat Index

It is important to note that there is not one piece of data that covers air temperature, humidity and turf field temperature when making safety recommendations regarding use of a turf field. The possible scenario chart above was designed by using the NOAA heat index guide above with ball park numbers. Final determination for participation will include all factors and will be at the discretion of the Athletic Director and/or a designee.