By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
The high school football season began officially Wednesday for several schools that plan to have their players in full pads on Aug. 1, the first day they are permitted to do so under a new policy being implemented by the Georgia High School Association to guard against heat related injuries.
The GHSA’s new Practice Policy for Heat and Humidity was approved by the organization’s executive committee in March. Though two Georgia high school football players died last year during summer workouts – Forest Jones of Locust Grove and DJ Searcy of Fitzgerald, who died while participating at a team camp at a facility in north Florida – the rule was crafted based largely on data collected during a three-year study which concluded at the beginning of this year.
The GHSA commissioned the study, according to executive director Ralph Swearngin, which was conducted by two University of Georgia researchers, Michael Ferrara and Bud Cooper. Members of the GHSA’s