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Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Courts vs. The Heat

The temperature has topped 100 for the past few days and is expected to be well over 100 for the next week. The only good news to that is the humidity has diminished to a more acceptable level. Last week, stepping outdoors was like walking into a wall of wet gauze.

There have been three heat-related deaths in the area within the last week – the last of which was a high school football player who suffered a heat stroke at afternoon practice when the heat index was 110.

Immediately, a Chancery Court judge issued an injunction prohibiting any and all outdoor school activities within a six-county area between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Band members, cheerleaders, football players – everyone had to move inside. Some teams wisely moved practice to 7 p.m.

But that’s not the end of the story. Almost immediately following the injunction, the state’s High School Activities Association initiated action to appeal the Chancery Court injunction. Within three hours of their appeal being filed, the State Supreme Court hustled into session and declared the injunction null and void.

So the big news in weekend papers is about local educators and coaches being savvy enough to oversee the welfare of their students without court direction. Call me silly, but I think it just might be more about the teams in the six heat-stricken counties coming up against teams this season that had more on-the-turf practice. I hope the desire for winning seasons doesn’t overshadow the dangers of overexertion in this extreme weather.

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