Protecting Players During Two-a-Days

- POTTER COUNTY -- A Texas tradition continues.

    Two-a-day practices started for most schools Monday.

    Because of recent changes by the University Interscholastic League (UIL), two-a-days practices are basically in name only.

    The old days of morning workouts followed by another practice in the afternoon are history.

    The UIL opting for the changes to protect the players.  The increased number of heat related deaths is a driving factor.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40 high school players have died from heat exhaustion since 1995.

    Rules changes by the UIL have also decreased the amount of time players are allowed to use full contact during practice.

    Teams are only allowed 90-minutes of full contact each week of practice during the regular season.   

    "Sometimes I don't know if it's really getting our players ready to play for Friday night, because we're not going to have those same rules on Friday night.  But, you know, it's not too bad here.  Definitely pretty nice today. I think it was 65 degrees when we started at 8 o'clock this morning."  Said Jimmy Thomas, Bushland athletic director and head football coach.

    Thomas came from southeast Texas where the heat and humidity cause problems.

    The low 90's to start two-a-days here in the panhandle forced him to wear long sleeves.

    Only smaller schools are allowed to start two-a-days practices Monday.

    The bigger schools can't start until next week.

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