High school football: Lightning safety at athletic events

With Friday night football going on, what are the rules when it comes to bad weather during a game?

The University Interscholastic League recommends a chain of command and a designated weather watcher, someone who looks for signs of severe weather and tells the chain of command if it becomes dangerous.

Each athletic venue should have a safer shelter, a place where people can go if thunder is heard within 30 seconds of a lightning strike or when a lightning bolt is spotted. The game should be stopped for 30 minutes.

Before starting back up, everyone should wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder or lightning flash.

If you are outside, avoid being the highest point in an open field or next to it, and don't take shelter near trees, flagpoles, or light poles.

Get in a lightning-safe position, crouched on the ground. Don't lie flat on the ground. You can also use a car with a metal roof and windows completely closed as a safer shelter.

Here's how some local districts handle lightning danger.

At Hutto ISD, coaches and administrators will get a text alert from a weather system if there is a confirmed lightning strike nearby.

At least one coach from each team should be designated to monitor the system.


If there is a notification, coaches should stop what's going on and move everyone to a safe shelter.

At Leander ISD, the athletic trainer will monitor lightning and is in charge of communicating updates to game officials, the head coach, and game administrator.

For Austin ISD, if there is lightning in the area, the game will be delayed by 30 minutes. If a game ends up being canceled, it will be moved to the next day and time a stadium and crew are available.

UIL adds everyone has the right to leave a place to go to safety if they feel the threat of impending lightning, and they shouldn't be afraid of repercussions.