High school sports postponed until Aug. 24

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion

At a meeting on July 23 the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) board of directors voted to postpone the start of fall sports at high schools in Florida until at least Aug. 24.

The 11-4 vote to delay the start of sports like football and volleyball reverses an earlier decision which allowed schools to start fall practice on July 27.

Teams can continue conditioning under their normal summer policies and social distancing guidelines.

On July 20 the FHSAA heard from its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) who recommended that schools delay the start of football and volleyball seasons.

The committee also recommended three important benchmarks in order for schools to return to play, including an overall downward trajectory for positive cases, less than a 5% positivity rate for cases over a 28-day period and at least two weeks of practice before competition to allow for appropriate heat acclimation and conditioning. SMAC is chaired by Dr. Jennifer Maynard.

“Although all members of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee acknowledge the incredible benefits of sports participation on both the physical and mental health of our youth,” said Dr. Maynard, “it is imperative that we take into account the scientifically proven risks of this very novel and unpredictable virus as we make recommendations.

“It is important to recognize that developing medical evidence indicates possible detrimental impacts of SARS-CoV-2 on the lungs, heart and increased risk of formation of blood clots throughout the body,” continued Dr. Maynard.

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