Exactly 7 days from now the first football games of the season will be played. Some of you may remember that the UIL pushed back fall sports at the end of June. Districts in 1A/2A/3A are going to see the start to their season on Friday, September 28th. While this game will set the precedent for the high school season, I would imagine colleges and the NFL are interested to see how this works out as well. High schools are at a disadvantage due to not being able to place their players in a bubble. Which is why, worst case scenario I think high schools playing will only help, not hurt the leagues above.
While many of the regulations are on a trial and error basis at the moment, we do know a couple things:
1. Athletes have been practicing in masks, this includes running and weight training.
a. Additionally, athletes are screened every morning before practice.
2. Cheerleaders, Drill Team, and Color Guard are to be wearing masks through the entirety of the game.
a. Away teams will not be permitted to bring their spirit groups, including the marching band
3. Marching Band does get a pass on the masks, seeing as they need their mouths to play, but they will be distanced in the bleachers.
a. Recent studies have shown playing an instrument is less likely to pass on the virus than singing. (Public Health Ontario)
4. Stadium capacities will be cut in half.
a. Viewers will be socially distanced
b. Masks will be worn
c. Because of this, the UIL will allow live telecast of all games.
These regulations are designed to stop the spread as much as possible. However, there is one obvious unavoidable risk: athlete to athlete contact on the field. While it would be naïve to think cases won’t increase in the upcoming weeks, it will also be hard to contact trace them specifically back to a football game, let alone a certain player. At this point, the only thing left to do is play.