Reopening sports

The National Federation of High Schools is provided is 51-member schools a guidance plan to get sports off and running again this fall.

The National Federation of State High School Associations has released guidance for its 51 members to consider in reopening athletics and other programs this fall.

The guidance document was developed by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, a 15-member advisory committee of medical doctors, certified athletic trainers, high school coaches and officials, research specialists and state high school association executives that regularly develops position statements related to medical aspects of conducting high school athletics.

The complete guidance document is available at nfhs.org.

Dr. Michael Koester, chairman of the committee, stressed that the guidance developed by the committee is intended as a set of ideas for state associations to consider for reopening with their respective sports medicine committees and state health departments.

The NFHS guidance document describes a staged approach to reopening.

"We are greatly indebted to the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for its work in formulating this guidance for re-opening high school athletics and activities,” said Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director. “It is important to be clear that this is guidance for individual states to consider as they return to activities this fall.

"States will utilize the guidance in this document as it best fits their state after consulting with local and state health departments.”

The guidance developed suggests a possible sport breakdown for higher-risk, moderate-risk and lower-risk, with the basis for the breakdown tied to the potential exposure to respiratory droplets.

As an example, the interaction of participants in higher-risk sports such as football and wrestling present more of a concern for transmission of the virus than lower-risk sports like individual running events and golf.

The guidance document also addresses a possible progression for returning to activities, hygiene practices, transportation to and from events, social-distancing suggestions during contests and a tiered approach to who should be allowed to attend events.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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