How poor air quality impacts high school sports in East Tennessee
High school athletes are practicing before sunrise to stay cool and avoid poor air quality.
ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - In East Tennessee, air quality is hovering between the orange and red categories, according to AirNow’s air quality index.
Previous Coverage: Red, orange air quality alerts issued for Tennessee
Tuesday at noon, a haze had already set in over Anderson County High School’s football field. That’s why the school’s coaching staff is taking special precautions to keep athletes safe.
“These practices, they have a lot more breaks,” said Gary Terry, the Athletic Director for Anderson County.
Athletic teams, from football to band, are getting to practice before the sun comes up, so they can avoid harsh heat and unhealthy air quality levels.
“We’re practicing early in the morning. We got a 7:00 a.m. start right there,” Terry said.
The Knox County Health Department said physical activity early in the morning is best practice. The health department said these conditions are rare for the region but not a major cause for concern.
“We’re at the bottom of the red, which still is dangerous, but it could be considerably worse,” said Justin Mayer, Director of Air Quality Management.
Anderson County Athletics purchased a large mist fan to bring down temperatures on the sidelines. They plan to keep investing in cooling measures as it heats up outside.
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