WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Middle school sports practices in Robertson County have some parents heated, as high temperatures continue to assault Middle Tennessee.

Football players at White House Heritage Middle School could be seen outside at practice Tuesday afternoon, despite high temperatures and an even higher index. That practice, according to experts, could be dangerous.

“The things that are most important when we talk about heat-related illness is not just the air temp itself but the humidity, the sun exposure, and also sort of wind,” Dr. Tyler Barrett, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said. “Those factors together really determine how much heat an athlete may be exposed to.”

The Robertson County Athletic Director, Pat Brown, said the outdoor practice was held in accordance with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletics Association heat recommendations.

But a parent tells News 2 it wasn’t enough, and they’re heated.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a study in 2010 that stated heat illness is the leading cause of death and disability among high school athletes. According to the CDC, there are more than 9,000 heat illnesses among high school athletes annually.

“We know some high-profile cases of NFL players and college players who have died during practices and because of that, there’s been a lot of recommended best practices and protocols put in place,” Barrett said.

Those protocols include the TSSAA heat policy, which says that “under no circumstances can an outdoor practice or scrimmage take place” if the heat index is above 104 degrees.

TSSAA guidelines

The parent, who asked to remain anonymous, told News 2 they believed the Tuesday practice violated the policy—but the district said the coach held practice by the book. The RCS Communications Coordinator, Jim Bellis said temperatures were monitored by the minute and did not reach 104 until the end of practice, around 5:15 p.m.

There was also a cooler with ice water available, and the practice lasted less than one hour.

“Be really cognizant of the temperature,” Barrett said. “When it becomes humid, it’s more difficult for the body to dissipate heat by sweating it out, so a day that has high humidity, if you’re a parent or a coach and you’re running practices, you have kids out there, keep track.”

Ultimately, athletics officials are listening to parent concerns—they say Thursday’s practice will be moved inside.

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While there is no existing requirement for youth sports coaches to have annual training for heat illness prevention and treatment, TSSAA strongly recommends that all coaches and sponsors of activities that occur outdoors complete the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Heat Illness Prevention course before working with students each season.