Finally, a mechanism is in place to end our long sports nightmare. Georgia athletes have been cleared to Athens and Butts-Mehre. Yesterday, League commissioner Greg Sankey announced that League presidents voted to allow student-athletes back to campus on June 08. Georgia president Jere Morehead said:
“Thanks to the tremendous leadership of our Commissioner, Greg Sankey, the 14 SEC Presidents were able to reach a unanimous decision and select June 8 as the appropriate date to begin allowing football players access to athletic facilities under very controlled and monitored conditions. The great work of the SEC Medical Guidance Task Force, which included Ron Courson, provided the Presidents with thoughtful analysis which helped inform our decision.”
Courson, Senior Associate Athletic Director – Sports Medicine, released a statement outlining the hurdles to be cleared for the Dawgs to successfully return to team activities:
First and foremost, our focus is on health and safety. We are taking a collaborative approach that involves public health, community health care system, sports medicine, sports performance, sports nutrition, and sport coaches working together to develop a plan and ensure each student-athlete has a individualized plan for return.
We will conduct COVID testing and perform medical evaluations on all student-athletes and they must be medically cleared prior to any physical activity. We will identify any student-athletes and staff who may be more vulnerable due to existing health conditions and ensure that we have an individualized plan of care for their safe return to sport or work based upon medical guidance.
Our student-athletes have had an unprecedented lay-off from sports and we have to be smart about how we progress back to activity during this “transition period”. Our strength and conditioning return to sport plan will be based off national consensus guidelines developed by a joint task force with representatives from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. It involves starting with a reduced volume of work and modified work-rest ratios with a gradual increase, allowing the student-athletes to acclimate to both the environment with heat and humidity as well as building up exercise tolerance.
We have developed a detailed plan to utilize the strength and conditioning facilities that follows the State of Georgia Executive order for re-opening of exercise facilities, including screening procedures, small groups using social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
Football is coming in June and that is the best news we’ve heard in what seems like a very long time.