NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The safety of student athletes is always a concern during summer workouts. This year safety is an even bigger concern.
Under normal circumstances high school athletes enter the summer workout season with spring strength and conditioning during athletic periods. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic athletes did not get that valuable time in the spring.
With less than 10 weeks until the start of the high school football season, teams around East Texas are having to train quickly while also practicing safety. The past week has seen schools from all corners of Texas suspend summer workouts. In East Texas - Spring Hill, Van, Athens, Marshall and Carlisle all altered their summer workouts in some way over the past week.
On Monday the University Interscholastic League is set to loosen restrictions on programs by increasing indoor workout activities to 50 % capacity, indoor work cohort sizes from 10 to 15 student-athletes and outdoor cohort sizes from 15 to 25 student-athletes. Before workouts began, Allman and his staff held several walk troughs with just the coaches to make sure they knew how to handle the workouts while practicing social distancing.
“It is tough,” Nacogdoches head coach football coach Darren Allman said.”We are doing the best we can at following the rules and guidelines. “It is such a hard thing. You do not know if these kids or coaches get infected at your workout or somewhere else. I think schools are doing the best they can and these kids are the safest they can be with the restrictions we have put in place.”
The UIL does not require programs to shut down the entire workout session if a student test positive. According to their website, “If a positive case is identified among a participant in these summer activities, either staff or student, the group to which that staff or student was assigned and in contact with must be removed from the sessions while all members of the group self-isolate. If the confirmed individual regularly had close contact outside a single group, then all of the students and staff with whom the confirmed individual had close contact shall be removed from workouts for two weeks.”
School districts appear to be taking a more widespread approach by shutting down everything if a test comes back positive for either students or coaches.
“With the short amount of time we have between now and football you cannot afford to miss too many days,” Allman said. “We have explained to them that if you are not taking care of your business you can get shut down and that is a big hit.” "