Palm Desert, CA
College of the Desert (COD) athletes are no strangers to triple digit temperatures.
"Not at all,” said COD linebacker Aaron Lombor. “There’s no getting used to it, you know people say you do but you just have to stay hydrated and work hard."
Making it important to know when it’s too hot to practice outside.
"Just to make sure that all the athletes are safe and knowing what they can and can’t do,” said COD cornerback Supriel Malik-Clark. “Knowing they can get injured due to this type of weather."
The sports medicine department know they have to be a voice for athletes when it’s too hot which is why COD’s head athletic trainer Todd Conger invested in a special device.
"The heat stress tracker is something I looked at through conferences and doing research knowing that out here in the Coachella Valley, heat index wasn’t enough to keep our athletes safe,” Conger said. “Heat index only takes into consideration temperature and humidity, so that’s why we went with the heat stress tracker. It takes into consideration the temperature the humidity, the air speed, and radiating temperature. So, it takes into consideration all the different factors that would affect an athlete where they’re doing an activity."
The numbers are calculated into five different codes of colors.
"Green, yellow, orange, red, and black,” Conger explained. “Black being the worst and in black we seize all outdoor activity."
The most common color during the summer is red.
"Our combinations with red, we usually limit practice to one hour,” Conger said. “We mandate so many water breaks. If they condition, there’s no gear allowed. It’s a constant communication with the coaches so we’re all on the same page to protect the athletes."
"I want them to be able to perform at their greatest level,” COD football head coach Jack Steptoe said. “It’s important that we take into consideration the heat factor."
Since COD has utilize the heat stress tracker, they’ve seen zero heat-related illnesses, keeping players off the field when it’s not safe.
"We haven’t had any heat illnesses in the last two years,” Conger said. “To my knowledge, nobody else in the Coachella Valley uses a heat stress tracker. I think every high school should have this as well as a certified athletic trainer to stand up for their athletes."