Junior Patriot athletes getting back into action
8th and 9th grade sports returning to practice under COVID- 19 guidelines
[email protected] The Arkansas Activities Association implemented Phase 1 for the reopening of athletics beginning June 1, with guidelines in place to make sure all athletes and coaches work in a safe environment (You can access the AAA COVID-19 landing page at www.aractivities. org/covid19). This opportunity for return to activity is not mandatory.
Anyone uncomfortable as an athlete or parent can opt out with no penalty.
High school sports have been back in the fieldhouse or the gym or the ballfield for several weeks now, but junior high school athletes have had to wait a little longer. On July 13, AAA announced that junior high sports programs could return to action.
The Marion School District pushed that move back about a week. All Marion High School athletic teams may begin workouts with the allowed time restrictions. MSD Administration set the start date for Junior High conditioning and skill for July 22. This past Wednesday, the Junior Pats got their first taste of sports since March. The move also includes the lifting of other restrictions and the issuing of guidelines, including:
• Athletic facilities will open under the Arkansas Department of Health guidelines.
• The tennis courts and the walking track will open to the public
• All Arkansas Activities Association rules and guidelines will be in place for Patriot Athletic teams.
• Workout areas will be cleaned between all workout sessions.
• Locker rooms will not be used.
• All players must have a current physical on file.
• All players and coaches must wear a face mask.
(District will provide a washable face mask or a personally owned medically approved face mask will be acceptable for workouts)
• Players and coaches must provide their own water bottle. (no sharing)
• Players and coaches must wash hands before entering the workout area
• Coaches’ temperatures will be checked each day upon entry
• Players and coaches will be asked a series of questions each day regarding COVID-19.
• Players will be sent home and not allowed to work out if answers do not safely allow.
It is the recommendation of the Arkansas Activities Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee that all AAA member schools implement a “graduated acclimation period” for all student athletes, band members, and students returning to other extracurricular activities after the mandated 10-week dead period pertaining to COVID-19. The guidelines are to provide school district administrators and coaches talking points as they look to return to extracurricular activities on campus to minimize risk of exertional heat illness and acute musculoskeletal injuries. The guidelines in this document do not supersede the Arkansas Department of Health Guidelines.
Earlier this year (2020) the Arkansas Activities Association’s Board of Directors voted to accept a state-wide guideline as it pertains to Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) for hot weather practices/competitions. Heat Index readings are no longer recommended for monitoring hot weather conditions as it pertains to extracurricular activities.
Also, remember that the Arkansas National Weather Services has produced a WBGT Practice Planning/Monitoring webpage for member schools to use (learn more at www.weather.gov/lzk/hwav e.htm#wbgt).
Each member school must have a venue specific Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and coordinate your plan with your responding Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The EAP should include but not limited to:
• where school extra-curricular activities are happening on our campus/community • main entrance to venue
• emergency personnel at venue
• emergency communication (how/who will notify EMS)
• emergency equipment onsite
• roles of first responders
Continued on Page 7 JUNIOR HIGH (cont.)
• nearest Automated External Deliberator (AED)
• any known pre existing medical conditions of the patient (allergies/asthma/diabetes/s ickle cell/etc.)
• care plan for a victim of Exertional Heat Illness (EHI)
• care plan for cardiac arrest Student athletes should have a current athletic physical on file at the school prior to participating in any school lead activities. By AAA bylaw physicals are good 12-15 months.
Conditioning activities include things such as weight training, windsprints, timed runs for distance, etc., and may be a part of the practice time.
Practices are defined as the time period that a participant engages in a coachsupervised, school approved sport or conditioning- related activity.
Practices are timed from when players report to the practice/workout area until the players leave the area.
If a practice is interrupted for a weather related reason, the “clock” on the practice will stop and will begin again when the practice
The goals of these recommendations are to allow for safe progression for an unacclimated, deconditioned athlete to start participating safely. These recommendations were developed to incorporate a gradual onset of exercise intensity, duration and exposure to equipment and a gradual onset of heat exposure and duration. This multifaceted approach strives to prevent musculoskeletal injury from the onset of unaccustomed exercise and protect against heat illness in the non-acclimated individual.
Schools must follow the Department of Health directives as it pertains to individual practice, social distancing, hygiene, disinfecting, screening, hydration, etc. No contact equipment may be worn, follow WBGT work:rest ratios, a maximum of 5 days of individual practice can occur for every 7 calendar
Days 1 and 2 — 1 session per day with a maximum of 1 hour in length Days 3-5 — 1 session per day with a maximum of 1.5 hours in length Days 6-10 — 1 session per day with a maximum of 2 hours in length Days 11-13 — 1 session per day with a maximum of 2.5 hours in length Days 14-25 — 1 session per day with a maximum of 3 hours in length This graduated acclimation period represents the minimum standard. Students that start practice after day 1 must start at day 1 and continue through the graduated acclimatization period. Be aware and make accommodations for any students who have pre-existing conditions.
These minimum standards include preparation for heat acclimatization. However, deconditioned athletes are at a greater risk of orthopedic injury, muscle strains, etc. Conditioning and practice should be designed with these risks in mind.