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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 8, 2007

Senator Earl Garrison
Senator Earl Garrison

Measure to Prohibit Youth Sports' Practices in Heat Advances

State Senator Earl Garrison is looking out for the well-being of young athletes in Oklahoma. On Thursday, the Committee on Health and Human Resources approved Senate Bill 451, which would prohibit non-school-related sports programs for kids thirteen years or younger from holding practice outside or in non-air-conditioned facilities when the heat index is at or above ninety-five degrees.

“This bill is about the safety and health of our children,” said Garrison, D-Muskogee. “Playing in this type of heat can cause serious injury or even death if there aren’t certified coaches on hand that are trained in medical emergencies. The problem is that when you’re talking about non-school-related activities, you may not have people who have the training like school coaches, and that is our major concern.”

SB 451 was a request bill from a group of medical physicians from Eastern Oklahoma. According to the doctors, younger children have greater difficulty dissipating heat and this can lead to a number of medical problems including heat stroke.

Garrison acknowledged that parents can pull their kids out of such practices, but many choose not to for a variety of reasons.

“If you have a good athlete, there’s always that vision out there that my child is going to play D-1 football or maybe even in the pros, so I don’t want him to miss a practice and get behind. Then there’s that male chauvinist kind of thing that’s often associated with boys and girls, but especially with boys, that I don’t want my boy being considered a sissy. So I want him out there practicing,” explained Garrison. “So I think it becomes kind of peer pressure to participate. What this would do would take the pressure off the parents and allow their children to operate in a more safe manner.”

The bill now goes before the full Senate. If approved by both legislative bodies and the Governor, SB 451 would go into effect on November 1, 2007.

For more information contact:
Senator Garrison's Office - (405) 521-5533

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