The annual and unfortunate stories will be coming along soon enough.

There is always news this time of the year – whether it is precautionary or all too real – about deaths to athletes related to heat.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association is keenly aware of it and has taken some steps in order to keep it from happening in Arizona, where the last case of a heat-related death is believed to have happened in 1988 when Phoenix Shadow Mountain's Abdul Reed collapsed and died.

The AIA passed a heat bylaw during emergency legislation in late May that went into effect July 1.

The bylaw, recommended by the AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, is called the Heat Acclimation and External Heat Illness Management policy. It is a reminder to coaches about the proper hydrating steps, the signs of heat exhaustion and the difficulties that come with exercising in hottest days of the year.

According to the new bylaw, during the first week, players were not allowed to practice more than once a day. Additionally, the bylaw states that if a practice is interrupted by inclement weather or heat restrictions, the practice can only continue once conditions are safe.

It was OK to have a one-hour walk-through during the first week (last week) in addition to the practice each day with at least a three-hour gap between the two. A ‘walk-through’ is defined as no sleds, dummies or physical contact.

In the first three days, helmets were allowed, but dummies can only be used as non-contact tools. Between days four and six, helmets and shoulder pads are allowed before full pads after that.

Two-a-days are allowed but not on back to back days.

These are great steps and hopefully it leads to less stories and more awareness this year and beyond.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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