Ohio says contact sports can play on

Practices can resume with safety at the forefront
Updated: Jun. 22, 2020 at 7:51 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When you hear that high school’s can resume practices for contact sports images of padded up football players in each other’s faces come to mind. That is not exactly how it will go down, says Mentor Athletic Director Jeff Cassella “When they say contact, they’re not out there tackling. It’s more or less touch.”

That is enough for teams to move on from basic strength and conditioning work. “In football, they’re going to start putting in their offense. They’ll walk through some stuff.,” said Cassella. “The quarterbacks and receivers will start getting timing down and you’ll be handing the ball off. Defensive backs will work one on one with receivers as far as coverage.”

Football will get the most headlines, but this is for all sports. Volleyball, soccer, basketball and the rest can finally start doing some game activity.

Safety is the top priority for Mentor and schools everywhere. It starts when the player first arrives at the facility. “We do a symptom check with them, ask them specific questions the state and our local health department have outlined for us,” said Cassella. “Coaches and athletes are masked when they arrive, once the activities start players can remove the masks, but coaches stay masked all the time.”

But the checks do not stop there. Cassella says even during sessions steps are still being taken to keep people safe. “Any time they come into contact with surfaces, either in our weight room or even on the field we are sanitizing those. Nobody is sharing water bottles or towels, everybody brings their own equipment, locker rooms are closed.” Players must arrive dressed in whatever they need for that day.

Should a problem arise, they have procedures to follow. “We are in constant contact with our health department here in Lake County. Obviously if we had any issues come up we would report it to them and we would follow their lead.”

Mentor, like everybody else, is hoping they can keep this up until August 1st, the day schools are allowed to begin regular work for fall sports. The OHSAA has not made any decisions about it’s 2020 fall season.

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