Surrey's AAA No. 1-ranked Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers are exercising caution as fall camp opened around the province to hazy skies. (Varsity Letters file photo by Howard Tsumura)
Feature High School Football

B.C. high school football teams open fall camp practicing caution due to province’s poor air quality

SURREY — High school football players in this province were all excited about the start of fall camp on Monday, with opening week set to kick-off in 10 days.

Yet with reduced air quality due to the ongoing forest fire situation ongoing throughout the province, B.C. Secondary Schools Football Association president Brien Gemmell sent a note of caution to coaches around B.C. on Tuesday morning.

Here’s is the note sent by Gemmell via e-mail:

Good morning Coaches

I hope your summer has been a good one and restful.

Given the current fire situation in our province and the air quality at this time, I want to caution our coaches as they begin fall practices. 

Please take the necessary steps to ensure player and coach safety.

Suggestions would include shortening periods outside, cancelling any conditioning periods or move them inside and increasing water breaks. If any work can be done indoors please take the necessary steps to make that happen.

Thanks so much and have a safe and successful fall camp.

Brien Gemmell


Kurt Thornton, head coach of the AAA No. 1-ranked Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers said his Surrey-based team held a single evening session on Monday, a 135-minute practice beginning at 6 p.m. in which the players were very closely monitored.

“We didn’t change our practice plan, but we did change our expectations during the practice,” said Thornton, whose team will continue with one practice per day through the week before beginning two-a-days next week. “We held back from what we normally do in terms of tempo and we gave the kids more breaks.”

Added Gemmell, when contacted by VarsityLetters: “The safety of our players and coaches is front and centre for us. Like I said, if you can do sessions indoors, do them in your gym. Shorten practice periods outside and increase water breaks. We don’t want anyone taking unnecessary  risks.”

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