LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - We’ve all been waiting for high school football to start back up in Louisiana, and this morning the LHSAA unanimously decided to move forward with contact sports regardless of what phase the state is in.
“Excited,” LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said. “For the kids and coaches. They’ve been busting their tails. It makes me get emotional. All of our sports have been busting their tails.”
An 8-game football season will be played this year starting in week 3, October 1st, full contact practice can begin tomorrow and there will be a scrimmage at the end of the month.
Select schools will rejoin nonselect sites for the 2020-21 school year only.
Whether because of COVID concerns or hurricane recovery, a school will not be penalized for delaying or opting out of the season.
“The parents are all on board,” LHSAA President David Federico said. “They know that the sports are voluntary. If they don’t want their children to participate, that’s fine. I’ve had none that have pulled their children out saying they don’t want them playing sports. They are ready to get it going.”
The LHSAA chair of the sports medicine advisory committee, Dr. Greg Stewart says moving forward means following guidelines is vital.
“It’s a Respiratory virus so that means social distancing. It’s the 6 to 12 feet distance distance depending on whether you’re talking or yelling. At this point this is what we’re trying to do,” Dr. Stewart said. “We’re limiting individuals on the sidelines and spreading the sideline out. Limited people going to the coin toss, no handshakes before or after the game.”
Every school will have a symptom check list and require temperature checks prior to playing or attending games.
However, there is no mandatory COVID testing, so if someone does test positive:
"There’s really going to be three different groups of people that if something happens in the school were to shut down. They’ll be a group of individuals student athletes who have not been exposed and do not have the virus, but they’re not in school. So they’ll be the ones who can continue to work out. They’ll be the group that’s quarantined. The close contact group. They’ll be shut down for 14 days. They can continue to work out on their own, so at their own house where they are quarantined. Then there are the individuals that test positive. They will be out for a minimum of 10 days, Dr. Stewart said. “They have to have at least the last 48 hours being asymptomatic with no fever reducing medicine. They’ll need a medical providers clearance in order to return. We would just wanna make sure they’re safe. And then like with concussion protocols there’s that seven step return to participation and will do the same kind of thing with them in order to get them back to play.”
As far as other contact sports go, they will all fall under the same guidelines as football.