With WACFL preseason matches and training kicking off in March for some Leagues- it is critical that player safety is a consideration at all times. Below is the AFL's Weather Policy around Extreme Heat.
Extreme Heat Heat-related stress can lead to impaired player performance (eg dizziness, headaches, collapse and illness). In its extreme form, heat can be life threatening. Preventing heat stress and injury maintains optimum performance and improves recovery. To prevent heat stress, careful planning and preparation is required in accordance with this section 3.
3.1 Preliminary Assessment The Football Body should assess the heat stress risk by reviewing information provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Heat stress management strategies should also be applied at all training sessions.
3.2 Onus on Player Players have a responsibility to ensure that the impact of environmental factors such as extreme heat is not exacerbated by their own conduct. Accordingly, the following general guidelines should be followed. (a) Players should: (i) ensure adequate fluid intake prior to game and during game (500-700mls per quarter); (ii) monitor hydration; (iii) notify medical and coaching staffs when effected by heat or when performance is noticeably effected; (iv) use water and electrolyte drinks; (v) use pre-game, game and post-game cooling strategies; (vi) do not play in the heat with an illness; and (vii) apply sun protection factor 30+ sunscreen in sunny conditions.
3.3 Club Responsibility All Clubs competing in a competition administered by the Football Body should monitor environmental factors such as extreme heat both in Matches and at any Australian Football training session administered by the Club. The Club should assess the heat stress risk by reviewing information provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Heat stress management strategies should also be applied at all training sessions administered by the Club. The following general guidelines should be followed: (a) Clubs should:
(i) use cooling aids if available – ice vests, spray bottles, sponges, fans (in rooms and on interchange bench) and shade;
(ii) choose heat permeable jumpers and socks;
(iii) report incidents of heat stress illness in all players to the Football Body;
(iv) use a Club official to be delegated the primary responsibility of monitoring and manage players for heat stress issues as they arise during a Match;
(v) provide adequate fluids in appropriate bottles;
(vi) ensure trainers are fit enough to access as many players as possible during the game;
(vii) coordinate training times outside extreme conditions; and
(viii) provide facilities for player cooling – shade, air conditioning, sprays and fans whether training or playing.