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Utah parents are concerned high school student-athletes practicing too much

Posted at 9:54 PM, Aug 08, 2023

ROY, Utah — “Chris" is a concerned parent whose son has been dedicating almost 40 hours every week this summer to the Roy High School football team.

“He's putting in more hours for a game than I do for my job," he said. "He's exhausted. He's burned out. Everyone on the team is that way. Some days he’s doing two days and the first set is going five hours, and the second set is going three hours, and it's been going on since the end of school.”

“Chris," which is not his real name, didn’t want to bring his concerns to the football coach or reveal his identity, out of fear of retaliation toward his son.

“You look anywhere in the country, there's cardiac arrest, there's kids with heart problems, there's kids falling down of heat exhaustion," he said. "We have set standards in place. Why can't we follow them?”

These standards are set by the Utah High School Activities Association; schools must follow a 20-hours-a-week maximum practice rule during the school year, said Brenan Jackson, Assistant Director of UHSAA.

“There's a lot of schools that follow the 20-hour-a-week rule during the summer," he said. "It's kind of more difficult to track because you have multi-sport athletes that are involved in maybe football, part of the day they might have basketball camps, they might have baseball or track."

During the summer practice times are governed by the individual schools, but they’re supposed to follow certain guidelines, said Jackson.

"For example, heat stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, those are things that are, air quality, those are things that are being addressed and policies that are actually in place to help try to keep student-athletes and those that are involved in extracurricular activities safe," he said.

"Chris” says he’s not the only parent who thinks it’s not safe for these kids to be spending six to seven hours on long, hot summer days playing football.

“There are so many kids that are just, this is their life," he said. "Like, what part of high school is fun if you're just working all the time?”

FOX 13 News did speak with someone with the Weber School District; they told us Roy High School’s athletics department has not received any complaints and is not aware of concerns about student athletes practicing for too many hours.